The fleet of Kia courtesy vehicles used by Tennis Australia to transport players, support teams, officials and the media clocked more than 300,000 kilometres across a record 35,000 journeys during the 2008 Australian Open tennis tournament last month in Melbourne.
The 81 specially-equipped vehicles were supplied to Tennis Australia as part of Kia Motors' major sponsorship of the Australian Open, recognised as Australia's premier sporting event.
A team of 195 specially-trained drivers were employed to drive the Kia courtesy fleet during the week of pre-qualifying and two weeks of the 2008 event.
Mr Peter Nochar, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors Australia, said that the fleet of vehicles was an integral part of Kia's commitment to the Australian Open.
"Kia Motors is a proud supporter of world tennis, through its major sponsorship of the Australian Open and its continuing commitment as an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup competition," said Mr Nochar.
"Tennis fits well with the 'enabling and exciting' brand attributes of Kia and the sport's appeal to people worldwide makes it a natural fit with Kia's growing position as a global automaker.
"These courtesy vehicles play a very important role in transporting players, officials and the media between Melbourne Park, their hotels and the airport during the Open, contributing to the smooth running of the event and reinforcing Kia's role as the event's major sponsor."
Speaking prior to the start of the 2008 tournament, Mr Geoff Pollard, President of Tennis Australia, said: "The Kia courtesy car fleet is an intrinsic part of the Australian Open. The sight of the Kia fleet ferrying players and officials around Melbourne contributes to the tangible excitement and buzz the AO brings to the city of Melbourne."
The majority of the fleet comprised Kia's award-winning Grand Carnival people-mover which has dominated the people-mover segment in Australia for a number of years.
The Carnival range's package of a spacious and functional interior combined with powerful and efficient V6 engines has made the model a natural choice for owners who need to move up to eight people and their luggage comfortably and safely.
It was recently recognised as Australia's most popular people-mover with its recent win in the People-Mover category of the 2007 Carsales Network People's Choice awards.
"Carnival has consistently been Australia's best selling people-mover," said Mr Nochar. "When it comes to actually making a purchase, approximately 34% of buyers in the under-$55K people-mover market have chosen either the Kia VQ Carnival or Grand Carnival, demonstrating that Carnival really is the people's choice."
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