While 1998 was a strong year in the West for newly merged DaimlerChrysler AG, it left much to be desired in Asia. “Volumes were fairly significantly depressed,” says Ronald J. Gardhouse, president of DaimlerChryler's Asia/Pacific operations, blaming the region's economic crisis for the automaker's woes. The one bright spot was China, where the former Chrysler Corp. has had a long-time joint venture, called Beijing Jeep Corp., to build Jeep Cherokees and BJ2020 sport/utility vehicles. BJC ...

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