LOS ANGELES -- It's hard to catch Mark LaNeve, GM's North American sales chief, flatfooted when introducing vehicles to the press.
But then he doesn't usually share the stage with comic Jay Leno.
When LaNeve unveiled the re-engineered 2007 Chevrolet Suburban at the Los Angeles auto show last week, he said it can haul more passengers and cargo than any other vehicle in the segment.
That wasn't enough for Leno. He asked LaNeve if the Suburban could haul the comic and several guy friends to Brokeback Mountain, the title of a current Hollywood movie.
LaNeve didn't know where Brokeback Mountain was but assured Leno that the Suburban could do the job.
Leno then asked if the Suburban could tow a Toyota Prius should it break down.
"I have a lot of friends who have Priuses, and there have been reports about them breaking down," said Leno, apparently wandering off the GM-scripted event.
LaNeve, asserting with a red face that he didn't prompt the question, said the 8,000-pound towing capacity of the Suburban could tow two Priuses.
Leno also gave kudos to the Saab 9-5 Aero BioPower concept car, which runs on ethanol and gasoline. He said it would be a big hit in Hollywood.
"There are a lot of bi's in Hollywood, so that car should do well there," Leno joked.
GM showed the 2007 Suburban and long-wheelbase GMC Yukon XL for the first time at the show. Both vehicles go on sale in the second quarter of this year.
The trucks are equipped with new 5.3-liter V-8 engines. To address rising gasoline costs, the engines can deactivate four cylinders while cruising.
New 6.0-liter V-8s will be available later in the year.
The interior has several new safety features, such as a rear-viewing camera and head curtain airbags on all three rows of seats.
You may e-mail Kathy Jackson at [email protected]