I have an awkward memory forever singed in my mind.
The year was 2008, and comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert asked then General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz whether the Chevrolet Volt will "get me laid."
I cringed watching it.
But Lutz didn't flinch. He matter-of-factly affirmed for Colbert that it would. Then the two joked that the type of woman it might attract might not shave her legs.
That's the kind of off-color fodder to expect on late-night TV.
Last night, Ford CEO Alan Mulally appeared on CBS' Late Show with David Letterman. He came onstage fairly late in the show, just after midnight.
Earlier yesterday, I talked to Mulally's spokeswoman, who recalled the Lutz-Colbert exchange with me. She laughed, then admitted you never know what will happen.
But I know Mulally pretty well from many off-the-record conversations. Like Lutz, Mulally is a big personality. He is quick-witted, has a sense of humor and speaks his mind. He's the perfect executive to pitch Ford to a youthful, nonautomotive audience.