In Seoul, Pope Francis Gets a Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is best known as a hamster mobility device, so it’s an unlikely choice for a pope. But hey, Pope Francis also has a Renault 4.

On a tour of Asia, Pope Francis scheduled a visit to South Korea from Aug. 14 through 18, highlighted by beatification of 124 of the country’s first Catholic martyrs. But the pope has drawn industry attention once again because of his transportation choice. And Kia has been at the center.

The tradition of popes using rather nondescript German or Italian cars for transport has made Pope Francis’ choice of a little Korean hatchback surprising, even if this pope has urged more “humble cars” and frugality from Catholic leaders. Bloomberg reported Kia did not disclose what modifications it made to this particular Soul, but it looks like a completely stock model.

It’s undeniable that Kia stands to benefit from this choice promotion, with arguably their most iconic car being photographed so much over the last few days and seen around the world. But it’s also nice to see a major figure not choosing the typical black Mercedes S-Class, for example.

Maybe the Soul will be the transport of choice for other world leaders, and not just hamster aficionados.

By Zac Estrada

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