AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Kia Sorento completes around the world expedition

Kia Sorento completes around the world expedition image

Text: / Photos: | posted January 04, 2006 00:00

Christer Gerlach, the record-breaking Swedish driver and adventurer, successfully completed the 'Sorento Around the World Expedition' -- a 27,000-kilometer global adventure -- on Friday (December 16), when he drove his completely standard Kia Sorento SUV up to the gates of Stockholm's Royal Palace almost exactly four months to the day since his mid-August departure from this Swedish landmark.

"My earlier confidence in the performance, quality and reliability of the Kia Sorento proved to be well founded," enthused the 61-year old Swede. "The Sorento's large diameter wheels and tires were essential to successfully finding an off-road route across much of Asia, as there simply were no roads or tracks to follow for much of the journey. I am of course delighted to be home in time for Christmas, but I am surprisingly fatigue-free as the Kia also proved to be a remarkably comfortable vehicle, even for this rather extraordinary journey."

Gerlach's round-the-globe adventure took him to 11 countries, including the remotest regions of Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and a 3,500-kilometer wilderness trek across the largely unmapped wastelands of Siberia en route to the famous Russian port of Vladivostok and the ferry to South Korea, the half-way point in his epic journey.

For this demanding challenge, Gerlach chose a 3.5-liter, V6-engined, automatic transmission Sorento, running in completely standard specification and on normal road tires. The Swede's "fullest confidence in Kia's 4x4" led to his decision to him to travel solo, without a support team, and to schedule one engine oil change as the only maintenance throughout this mammoth motoring expedition.

Gerlach's pre-departure confidence was indeed well founded. The only unscheduled attention the Sorento required en route to Korea was to fix two punctures, one light bulb and one loose headlamp. During the second half of the world tour, Gerlach had to fix another light bulb, but otherwise the Kia ran entirely 'trouble-free.'

The second half featured a trans-continental multi-state crossing of the USA and Mexico via Route 66 (visiting California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina); a trans-Atlantic voyage aboard the world's largest car transporter vessel (the 7,000 car capacity Boheme) to Bremerhaven in Germany; and the final leg, via the 8-kilometer Oresund bridge from Denmark, to his Swedish home town.

"We are extremely proud to have partnered Christer during his epic adventure," comments Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice-President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation, who travelled to Stockholm in June to personally hand over the keys for the new Sorento to Mr Gerlach. "His exciting global challenge has allowed us to demonstrate the reliability, quality and excellence of our products all around the world and to bring to life our brand slogan 'The Power to Surprise'."

The Gerlach family is used to Christer 'taking trips' when he is not working as a journalist. His global adventurers have already earned him two entries in the Guinness Book of Records. Now, thanks to the Sorento's performance and reliability, he is safely reunited with his wife Lotta and children -- Hampus (16) and twins Fanny and Hugo (13) -- at the family's Stenhamra home in time for the Christmas celebrations.