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Charlie Kim and Steve Wood

Kia Motors has announced that it will extend its sponsorship of the Australian Open for a further five years, taking its support of the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific to 2018.

Kia Motors Australia chief executive officer Charlie Kim handed over the fleet of more than 100 vehicles to Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood in a ceremony outside Rod Laver Arena on Thursday morning.

Kim said he was pleased that Kia’s sponsorship of the Australian Open had helped the tournament to grow over the years.

“This will make Kia, with 17 years of support for the Australian Open, the longest-running major sponsor in the 108-year history of this iconic Grand Slam event,” Kim said.

“We believe the excitement and enthusiasm and passion displayed on the court (by players) here in Melbourne … is the perfect embodiment of what the Kia brand stands for.”

Wood said that without the fleet — which transports players, officials and visitors in and around Melbourne — the tournament would not run as smoothly as it does.

“Tennis Australia greatly appreciates the support and the strong partnership we have in place with Kia, both globally and domestically, and with the Kia brand now becoming synonymous with the Australian Open,” he said.

“To our knowledge, Kia will now be the longest and biggest Asian-based sponsor of sport in Australian history.”

The Kia fleet will be again be used for the popular Kia Open Drive segment, in which players are transported to certain places – their hotel, a training session or special event – in a Kia vehicle set up with cameras, microphones and an iPad.

The iPad generates questions for the player to answer, and their interactions with the driver provide an entertaining insight to their hobbies, thoughts and stories from the tour.

You can see these videos in the Open Drive section here on, which will run throughout the tournament.

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