Exploring the Andes with Kia September 10th, 2007
By Pamela Muñoz
International PR Assistant Manager
The Andes Mountains are some of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world. In fact, they are the highest mountain range outside of Asia. The Andes boast an average height of 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) and span over seven countries: Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina. They are divided into two great ranges, the Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental, often separated by a deep intermediate depression. Kia Argentina organized an expedition to reach the summit of one of the country’s highest mountains, the Cerro Bonete, at 6,759 meters and home of the world’s highest lagoon. For the expedition, they chose two Sorento VGTs and two K2700 double cabin 4WDs.
Kia’s K2700 is an extremely popular light commercial vehicle in Argentina, along with other markets in the region as well as Asia, the Middle East and Africa. These trucks were used to haul the equipment needed on the expedition. Led by Nelson Benitez, a professional pilot, and Spanish journalist Chema Huete, the team of 12 set off for the peak during the second week in March, early autumn in Argentina. This date was chosen because weather conditions in the Andes were optimal as the changing season offered not very hot or very cold temperatures. The team consisted of professionals with expedition experience including pilots, topography specialists and alpinists. Also accompanying the team was a TV crew from the most important local automotive TV channel, El Garage, whose footage was used aired during a half hour program. Click below to view a short video with English subtitles.
Kia’s vehicles were subject to environmental extremes during the expedition, including low oxygen levels and rough terrain, but still performed very well. In only one day, the K2700 reached heights of 5,645 meters, which is a world record for a light commercial vehicle. This was a first expedition of its kind in Kia Argentina’s history and the feedback they received from the television program was very positive. Before setting on their journey, there was some skepticism about being able to reach the summit. Skeptics beware… Kia has the power to surprise!