can lose large sums of money.” Bing says his company regularly lost as much as $150,000 monthly during the recession and much of the profits it had taken several years to accumulate. “I was insolvent,” Bing says.
It was then that Bing started to fully develop a relationship with Ford Motor Co. He had been doing some small work for Ford at the time, but realized if his company was to survive, he’d have to grow those commitments significantly to salvage his bottom line. The relationship has proved worthwhile for both parties. Today, Ford is still Bing’s largest customer.
Looking for further synergy and higher profit margins, Bing started his third company, Bing Manufacturing, in 1994. This assembly and sequencing company uses an Advanced Module Assembly process to apply color and detailing to bumpers. The interior and exterior sequencing aids in the application of cloth or leather to seat covers.
Not surprisingly, just as Bing was truly coming into his own as an automotive manufacturing force in Detroit, he suddenly found partners who were more than willing to hitch themselves to his wagon. Bing’s fourth company, Detroit Automotive Interiors, was formed out of a joint venture in 1996 with the Lear Corp., a $7 billion worldwide firm that is also one of the three leading seat manufacturers in the world.
Lear CEO Kenneth Way says he sought out Bing when his company wanted to increase its work with minority suppliers. Way was already familiar with Bing because they both serve on the Detroit Renaissance board. “I’ve had a good relationship with Dave over several years. He’s always been an individual of very high integrity and character.” Way says a mere four months after the paperwork for the joint venture was signed, Bing had a plant up and running to accommodate the new operation. “You can trust him and trust that he has the business experience and track record to make an operation work,” says Way.
Also in 1996 another joint venture forged with Woodbridge Ventures, a foam manufacturing company, allowed Bing to create his fifth company, Trim Tech, which makes foam that goes into auto armrests and headrests. The construction of a new 40,000-sq.ft. facility was just recently completed.
Today, Bing has contractual relationships with the Big Three, which totaled over $111 million in 1997. Ford ($67.2 million), GM ($32.8 million) and Chrysler ($11.4 million) have all bought into Bing’s vision. But he’s not content to rest on his laurels. Bing has sales projections charted through the year 2000 that would push his company over the $330 million mark.
“Dave is the pioneer minority company in this industry,” says Geralda Dodd, BE 100s CEO and president of the Detroit-based Thomas Madison Inc. “I’ve been in this business since 1978, and you don’t see that many African American faces.”
Detroit auto dealer Mel Farr has known Bing since 1967, “Dave’s a competitor and he knows what he wants out of life,” Farr says. “Bringing Detroit back to the forefront has taken the efforts of a lot of individuals,