Blending rugged looks with proven capability…and a loyal fan base--Jeep has become one of the standout brands of the year. And that could prompt General Motors to bring its former heavyweight out of retirement.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Recently, GMC executives hinted that there’s a definite place for a rugged off-road vehicle in their lineup. Especially when you consider the brand’s “more niche” status compared to big brother Chevrolet. 

GM’s Hummer brand once occupied that role. But, the downturn in the economy and bankruptcy caused them to shut it down in 2010.

The rumors don’t necessarily mean a return of the Hummer name-- per se-- but perhaps indicates GM’s renewed interest in the off-roading segment…a category where Jeep currently rules with virtually no competition.

And with the revival of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups, the “General” has a brand-new, readymade platform for an off-road vehicle-which can also incorporate all of the brand’s latest fuel efficiency advancements and creature comforts.

With the 2015 North American International Auto Show right around the corner, and numerous other opportunities in the coming year, we should hear more about a Hummer replacement soon.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Moving on to advancements in the PHEV industry, BMW has announced major plans for plug-in hybrid versions of nearly all of their current models, starting with the 3 Series.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The powertrain, seen here as a prototype cutaway, would combine the eDrive battery technology from BMW’s i cars, with the current combustion engines of their 3 Series. The turbo I4 and electric motor combo would provide just over 20 miles of pure EV driving.

The BMW X5 eDrive uses similar technology which has been on display at various auto shows over the past year.

YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: No word on when we’ll see these plug-in hybrids on the road, but rest assured-we’ll get behind the wheel of one of them just as soon as we can.

And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.