Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan – “The Power to Surprise” – represents the company’s global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting and inspiring experiences that go beyond ordinary expectations and they did just that when Kia racing won the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championships Manufacturer Championship in GTS. 

And the surprises don’t stop there. Kia has a few more lined up for you this year at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association), a massive custom and accessory auto show held each fall in Las Vegas, Nevada. Defined as a sales display of automotive specialty products, SEMA is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world and is not open to the general public. 

Befitting their Pirelli World Challenge Championship, Kia’s theme this year at SEMA will be “A Day at the Races”. If you have ever been to any form of auto racing, you know there are many experiences that you encounter that are more than just cars speeding around a track. Yes, there are fast cars and lots of loud noises, but more importantly there is usually a carnival atmosphere present. You know peanuts, popcorn, ICE CREAM and beer.Kia Smitten Soul EV - SEMA 2014

To help encourage that carnival atmosphere at SEMA, Kia partnered up with Smitten Ice Cream and Gallegher Designs of Portland, Oregon, to create a custom Ice Cream Truck and trailer from the new Soul EV. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Kia’s own story of rising to JD Power’s Top 10 in IQS (2103) and selling it’s 5 Millionth vehicle from a small import manufacturer 20 years ago involves lots of thinking outside of the box, a dedicated focus on design and several lofty dreams. Smitten Ice Cream‘s story is similar.

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Robyn Fisher decided that she didn’t like ice cream with all those words that she couldn’t pronounce, mainly used to prolong shelf life. With modern technology, why couldn’t she make a new style of old fashioned ice cream with the freshest ingredients without compromising taste for shelf life? Figuring out that the secret to the smoothest, densest, most flavorful ice cream is an ultra-cold churning process, Robyn’s dream begins to take shape. Reinventing the wheel, she builds her own ice cream machine with a secret weapon – liquid nitrogen. With the ability to cold churn at -321 degrees, Robyn creates the freshest, purest, creamiest ice cream in just 90 seconds!

Robyn and the "Brrr" early days
Robyn and the “Brrr” early days

Robyn’s entrepreneurial genius led her to build a better ice cream machine, aptly named “Brrr.” Realizing that she needed to test the market, she loads the “Brrr” on a red Radio Flyer Wagon (are you swept back to the 50s yet?), secures the load with bungee cords and takes to the streets, parks and alleys of San Francisco to test her product. Like the hugely successful food truck trend sweeping Los Angeles, Robyn harnesses the power of social media to let her fans know her daily location and the flavors of the day. Thus, an ice cream cult following is created.

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The next logical step after field testing, is to build a brick and mortar location. Choosing the the Hayes Valley neighborhood in San Francisco, Robyn steps outside the box once again and just as she reinvented the ice cream machine, she also reinvents the typical ice cream store. Serving old fashioned new ice cream, Smitten now has 4 locations in the Northern California area made from old rusty shipping containers recycled into a new ice cream store, perfect! 

Impressed? We are. With Kia racing’s championship win and the Soul EV Smitten Ice Cream Truck, what could be more perfect to complete a Day at the Races in SEMA? Why BEER, of course! Stay tuned…

Thank you to Kia Motors for providing exclusive access to this inspiring story. Image copyrights Kia and Smitten Ice Cream, respectively. All opinions remain my own.

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