Popemobile alert: Pope Francis goes for the Kia Soul in Seoul

This article is more than 12 months old

Pope Francis is about to help elevate the profile of Kia Motors' Soul beyond that of a ride for hip-hop-dancing hamsters.

The pope slipped into the back of the compact car and rolled down a window to wave at the welcoming party, including President Park Geun-hye, as he kicked off a five-day visit to South Korea, according to televised footage Thursday.

The 77-year- old is scheduled to preside over a beatification ceremony for Korean martyrs that is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the city center in Aug. 16, according to organisers.

Pope Francis (L) is seen inside a car as he arrives for a private mass at the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul August 14, 2014.
Pope Francis is seen inside his "popemobile", a Kia Soul, as he arrives for a private mass at the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul August 14, 2014. PHOTO: Reuters

Kia said in an email that it is honored by the pope’s use of the car, declining to comment on whether modifications were made to the vehicle.

The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics often makes official visits in a 20-year-old Fiat, including on a trip to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. He used a Fiat hatchback during his visit to Brazil in July 2013.

His predecessors have preferred roomier rides amid security concerns.

Pope Benedict XVI often rode in a bomb-proof Mercedes and used Audi’s A8 during his visit to Germany. Pope John Paul II used a bullet-proof Mercedes after an assassination attempt in 1981.

Maybe Pope Francis just loved these ads...

Source: The Washington Post

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