CST is a division of Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd., the largest manufacturer of bicycle tires in the world, employing more than 20,000 people worldwide. The company also offers products in many other categories, including the ATV and UTV markets.
While CST brand tires are distributed in more than 150 countries, covering a wide range of market segments, the team at CST USA develops and sells tires specifically for the North American market.
“The brand itself has been around since 1967 as kind of an offshoot of the Cheng Shin Tire brand,” says Rick Emmert, CST USA’s manager of specialty tires. “But I’d say the last five years is when we’ve been making the push here in the U.S. and Canada as a separate brand.”
Emmert says that in the 1980s, the parent company spun off Maxxis Tires as a separate premium brand, saw some success with it and decided there was room for a value brand such as CST. The company is now a global player.
Emmert notes that the U.S. team designs and markets all of their tires to fit the specific needs of the North American SxS/ATV/Moto consumer.
“After Maxxis came in and we expanded our facilities and factories in other countries, we realized there was an opportunity for another brand to have a unique and separate R&D department, an independent sales division and a different factory from where the other products are made. So (CST) is under the Chen Shin Rubber umbrella (the same as Maxxis), but it’s an entirely separate brand… separate everything,” explains Emmert.
Chris Meyer, CST USA’s Moto ATV/UTV marketing coordinator, echoes what Emmert says about being a separate brand. “We do hit different price points (than Maxxis), so we do go after a slightly different consumer. We do that for a reason, and that’s because Maxxis is an industry leader. With a brand that is emerging such as CST, it’s hard to launch products and brands at the top end, so you have to kind of start a little bit lower and work your way up.”
Meyer says that the typical CST consumer is a little more value conscious than a Maxxis customer. “We consider Maxxis as the flagship and then CST as the associate brand. There are many multiple brands in the passenger car tire industry. If you look at a Michelin, for example, they are the flagship brand, whereas Uniroyal or BF Goodrich would be an associate brand. We see it like that.”
As an emerging brand, CST is going after a different consumer and in more niche markets than the premium flagship brand. Meyer says that currently they are focused on the UTV, SxS market. “Our typical consumer right now would be utility side-by-side, utility ATV owner. These are consumers who are looking for performance but maybe aren’t looking to spend a whole paycheck on a product.”
One important thing to note about CST is that the company follows strict international standards and has received several certifications and awards including DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) certification, ISO9001, E-Mark, TS 16949 and others.
Utilizing a first-rate manufacturing operation and highly efficient logistics, CST is quickly emerging as a leader in the powersports industry.