'Pope Factor' Boosts Sales of Kia Soul

Sales of Kia's boxy compact Soul have surged after it was picked to transport Pope Francis during his recent visit to Korea.

Kia on Thursday said average daily sales of the vehicle totaled 33 units from Aug. 11 to 19. That was up around 65 percent compared to the average daily sales of 20 a day in July.

On Monday, the day the pope left, 52 Souls were sold, which was the daily sales record for this month. The growth in sales in particularly noteworthy since August is traditionally a slow season for car sales.

A Kia spokesman said the Soul’s image on TV as a substitute Popemobile helped sales.

Kia hopes that it will also boost sales in the U.S. and Europe. A total of 2,740 of the compacts were sold in Korea during the first seven months of this year, while U.S. sales amounted to around 90,000 over the same period.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 22, 2014 10:37 KST