Pope Francis will be driven around the Korean capital in a Kia Soul when he visits next month, a government official said Friday. The famously frugal pontiff had expressed a wish to use a compact car.
Since he became pope last year, Francis has declined to use bulletproof car, and he asked organizers of his visit here to give him the smallest Korean car possible.
The Soul has a 1,600 cc engine.
The pope usually uses a Ford Focus in the Vatican. The smallest cars in Korea are the Kia Morning and Ray and GM Korea's Spark, but the Soul is deemed safer.
During his visit from August 14 to 18, the pope will preside over four masses including at the Sixth Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs who were among 10,000 mostly lay Catholics killed during persecution by the Confucian Chosun Dynasty in the 19th century.
He will also meet with leaders of the seven major religions in Korea and President Park Geun-hye. The organizing committee expects over 200,000 people to attend the beatification ceremony, which will be held in Gwanghwamun Plaza at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16.