As the Australian Open Kia courtesy fleet ensures players, guests and officials all get to be where they need to be when they need to be there, waiting in the wings will be a very special hero.
The X factor for Kia’s 14th continuous year of association with the Australian Open will be the dramatic Wolverine Sorento inspired by the latest film in the X-Men franchise.
While the sinister-looking Sorento is unlikely to be called on to run the gamut of Melbourne’s streets, it will be on display throughout the Australian Open between January 19 and February 1.
Unveiled this morning by tennis superstar and Kia Ambassador Rafael Nadal, the X-car is the latest example of Kia’s working relationship with a string of comic book superheroes.
However, as the X-car sits and waits, a further 107 Kia cars will be performing heroic service as the courtesy fleet which keeps the Australian Open on the move, shuttling players, officials and dignitaries to and from the venues.
In handing over the Kia Courtesy Fleet to Tennis Australia’s CEO, Craig Tiley, KMAu Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith emphasised how valued is the association with Tennis Australia.
“For almost a decade and a half Kia has been an integral and recognisable associate of the Australian Open,” Mr Meredith said. “Over that time it has been Kia’s honour to be a proud sponsor of one of the world’s most iconic sporting events.
“The athleticism, enthusiasm and professionalism displayed by the many competitors at the Open is a fine example of the core values treasured by Kia as a product and a company.”
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, in accepting the symbolic key to the fleet, said: “The unwavering support of one of our longest-running sponsors provides a comforting sense of stability in what can be a very challenging environment.
“It’s a huge logistical exercise to move all our players, officials, media and staff around Melbourne during the event and year after year this is achieved with Kia’s support.”
The majority of the 107-strong courtesy fleet - 70 vehicles - are the multi-award winning Sorento seven-seat large SUV. Also on the fleet are the Carnival people mover (14) with the capability of moving eight at a time, the stylish Optima sedan (12) and the funky yet functional Soul (11).
The Kia courtesy fleet will be driven by 215 volunteers who expect to clock up more than 400,000 kilometres - or 10 circumnavigations of the Earth - in thousands of journeys during the 2015 Australian Open.
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