INCHEON, South Korea -- From most Americans, the GM Daewoo name and its flowerlike logo draw blank stares.
When the name does jog the memory, it often is linked to lamentable Korea-made compacts such as the rebadged Pontiac LeMans of the late 1980s or Daewoo Motor America's short, unhappy life selling vehicles in the United States from 1998 through 2002.
Even in its home market of South Korea, Daewoo has a meager 9 percent market share.
But on the world stage, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. has emerged as a weighty player in the revival of parent General Motors Co. With expansion overseas crucial to GM's recovery from bankruptcy, the unsung Korean subsidiary is rising to deliver. Some examples:
-- GM Daewoo-made cars now account for about 22 percent of GM's worldwide sales.
-- One of every four Chevrolets sold globally is manufactured by GM Daewoo.
-- GM expects sales of GM Daewoo-made vehicles to surge 64 percent in the next five years.
Indeed, GM is leaning on Daewoo as its center for global small-car design, development and engineering. And insiders and outsiders alike credit Daewoo for enabling GM to raise its game when it comes to small cars such as the new Chevrolet Cruze.
Meanwhile, the unit's design studio outside Seoul is leveraging U.S. consumers' newfound respect for Korean brands, from Hyundai to Samsung, to whip up fresh, funky looks with attitude.
Little wonder GM left Daewoo untouched when the bankrupt company cleaned house last year.