Let's face it: When you think of a car that a late-night host with a massive audience might drive, a VinFast VF8 probably isn't the first thing that springs to mind. So why is Emmy-winning comedian Jimmy Kimmel driving one in clips for his show Jimmy Kimmel Live

We've had a burning desire to know this since we caught Kimmel casually driving his kids to school in a VF8 SUV from the Vietnamese automaker in a video posted on the Jimmy Kimmel Live YouTube channel on Oct. 25. In the six-minute segment, which also features singer Olivia Rodrigo as a surprise guest on the Kimmel family's school run, Kimmel does not mention the VinFast VF8 once. He doesn't say if it's his own car or if he had it on loan.

The only remark he makes about the vehicle is that "the speakers in this car are great" as an Olivia Rodrigo song plays in the background, while the kids and the star start singing along. Was this a product placement thing? If yes, it's a pretty weird one because no one will ever know what car Jimmy Kimmel drove in the video since the vehicle's name was not mentioned at all.

The Vietnamese EV didn't seem to have manufacturer plates either, which obviously intrigued us more. So we tried to get in touch with Jimmy Kimmel's team at ABC Entertainment to see if he really bought a VinFast VF8 – and why! We haven't heard back from them yet.

We also contacted VinFast US and asked what was going on. We have no word yet from VinFast either, which really made us do some more digging. But it does appear to be some kind of sponsored content deal, possibly, if social media posts are to be believed. 


There's no mention of the VinFast VF8 on any of Jimmy Kimmel's social media accounts, but VinFast's official X (formerly Twitter) account on Oct. 26 linked to another video uploaded by the Jimmy Kimmel Live channel. That video featuring Guillermo, Kimmel's sidekick on the show, is clearly marked "Sponsored by VinFast Auto." Both videos were likely part of the same sponsorship deal.

It's a very curious choice, in part because VinFast's debut on the U.S. market earlier this year with the VF8 mid-size SUV has been plagued by some of the most negative reviews we've seen in a long time. The Vietnamese brand's launch model has been widely criticized for its nausea-inducing suspension, steering devoid of any feedback, glitchy infotainment system, unreliable climate control system, faulty ADAS features, and the list could go on, unfortunately. InsideEVs' first drive review of the VinFast VF8 was just titled "Yikes," so you get the point.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, VinFast reportedly registered only 137 VF8 SUVs in the U.S. in the first six months of the year, according to data provider S&P Global Mobility (via CNBC) – and no one knows how many of those were registered by the automaker itself.

That's terrible even when you consider that VinFast EVs are currently only sold in California. We were seriously thinking about asking you if you know of anyone who owns a VinFast VF8 when we stumbled upon the video of Kimmel driving Vietnam's finest.

But the parent company behind the automaker, Vietnam's Vingroup, is extremely well-capitalized, to put it gently. With more than $2.5 billion in revenue in 2022 alone and a diverse portfolio of interests in real estate, televisions, smartphones, resorts, pharmaceuticals and more, it certainly has the capital to spend on celebrity endorsements. It's just struggled to get the actual car dialed in enough to be competitive in the U.S. market. 

It's also strange that a new car brand that's in desperate need of awareness in the U.S. didn't put out a press release announcing the partnership with Jimmy Kimmel Live. It's even stranger that the VinFast VF8 was not even once mentioned by name in the video featuring Kimmel and Rodrigo, who's a megastar in her own right; a truly missed opportunity seeing as the video had more than 2.2 million views as of Nov. 8.

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