While 1998 was a stellar year for newly merged DaimlerChrysler AG in the West, it was less than memorable for the auto giant in Asia. “Volumes were fairly significantly depressed,” says Ronald J. Gardhouse, president of DC'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 ...

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