Kia attempts a Koup at Targa Newfoundland

Jacques Deshaies and Shaun Keenan will drive the number 99 car.

September 6, 2011
by Canadian Automotive Review staff

MISSISSAUGA: Kia Canada is running a race-prepped Kia Forte Koup in the Targa Newfoundland rally. The car will be driven by pro-driver Jacques Deshaies with Shaun Keenan as co-pilot.

For the 2011 edition, the team is racing with the goal of promoting their partner, MADD Canada, thus raising awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and reinforcing the need to always drive responsibly. To reinforce this message the Kia Koup has been specially wrapped to debut its “I Pledge to drive safe and sober” campaign.  With every stop during the rally, spawning across wide sections of Newfoundland, local youths will be exposed to the cars and drivers and will be encouraged to pledge to this important cause by signing the Koup race car.

Teens and young adults are at particularly high risk for impaired driving. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 25 year olds, and alcohol is a factor in 45 percent of those crashes.  The combination of drugs and driving is also a major concern; Canadian youth between the ages of 14 and 25 have one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world.

“Kia Canada is excited to renew its participation with Targa Newfoundland and to have pro-driver Jacques Deshaies and Shaun Keenan represent as team ‘Designated Drivers'” said Maria Soklis, vice-president and COO of  Kia Canada Inc. “As an automotive company, Kia is proud to support MADD Canada in their quest to educate Canadians on the importance of driving responsibly”.

As the new Presenting Sponsor of the 2011-2012 School Assembly Program, Kia Canada Inc. is also donating the use of eight vehicles to MADD Canada: four vehicles will be dedicated for use by field representatives who travel from school to school to deliver the program. The remaining four vehicles will be used by Chapters across the country to promote local activities and events. All vehicles will be adorned with MADD Canada’s logo and messaging for maximum visibility and awareness.

In addition, each vehicle will be wrapped in the “I Pledge” special finish similar to the Kia Koup race car which will allow students to sign the vehicle as a way of showing their commitment to never driving under the influence.

“Kia Canada Inc. is making an impact,” said MADD Canada national president Denise Dubyk. “With Kia’s assistance, we will deliver our important message to more than 1 million students across this country, helping them to understand the dangers of impaired driving and reinforcing the need to always drive responsibly. It’s a message that will save lives.”

After competing in the Targa rally, the vehicle will tour the vast majority of auto shows in Canada and will be seen at the Kia Canada display for the 2012 auto show circuit.

Kia was among the earliest corporate supporters of Targa, fielding a then-new Kia Rio for the media team of auto writer Bob English and local radio personality Ken Ash in the inaugural Targa Newfoundland in 2002. Over the next three years, Kia cars won class honours for the company several times.