Honda Beat Parts Program

The Honda Beat goes on

Ben Hsu at Japanese Nostalgic Car recently wrote about the Honda Beat Parts program and the challenges that had to be overcome to get it off the ground. Continuation parts can be a tricky business. The car company that the general public buys their car from does not make all components in the same car.

Take the German company, ZF, for example. They make transmissions. The tag line for their company is “Products for cars.” ZF came to general knowledge levels of auto enthusiasts with their reliable 8-speed automatic transmission that went into everything from an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera to a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk. Now we hear about ZF again because their rear steering system is in numerous enthusiast models.

Honda Beat Parts Program

Making reproduction parts for any car can be convoluted and complicated. When I worked at an aftermarket parts company, every day had someone asking about a discontinued or unavailable part. The first generation Dodge Dakota owners were the most persistent in asking about parts availability. For the company producing the parts, it’s a pure numbers game. If there were a couple hundred thousand first-gen Dakotas sold and even less on the road at present. Investing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more into being able to sell three to five of a particular part a month doesn’t add up. The rough number was around 300,000 vehicles. If there were that many vehicles on the road, then the company would look at producing specific parts.

Honda Beat Parts Program

All of that is to bring to light how amazing it is what Honda is doing. Honda built the Beat in Japan from 1991-96. They sold 33,892 Beats over that time. Honda typically will end parts production 15 years after a model run ends. For the Beat, that meant an end to parts in 2011. But in 2015, Honda saw that 30% of the parts for the Beat were still experiencing strong sales. After some research, Honda discovered that 19,759 Beats were still on the road, over 58.3 percent survival rate for the model run.

Honda Beat Parts Program

Making it happen

The Honda Beat made up of 1,600 parts, and a lot of those came from suppliers throughout Japan. The Honda team went to work, locating and requesting reproductions of parts. That is a big ask of an independent manufacturing company that has moved on to producing new items. Honda believes in in-person communication with suppliers, so starting the Beat parts program meant countless hours to visit each partner company physically.

To date, the parts catalog is now up of 92 parts, but the team is working on more. This year they are hoping to add tie rod ends, a fuel return line, and a purge regulator return hose. These new reproduction parts might not be offered indefinitely. The agreement with the brake caliper supplier has only agreed to make the part until 2023. After that, who knows.

Honda Beat Parts Program

If you’re looking for Beat parts, now is the time to buy. Who knows when we will see these parts again in the future? But good on Honda for making this happen in the first place. Being able to buy parts for an old vehicle is one of the reasons I still enjoy my 25-year-old Land Cruiser. I can go to the local dealer and buy OEM parts.

[Images courtesy of Japanese Nostalgic Car]

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13 responses to “The Honda Beat goes on”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    This is indeed a numbers game, but, on the other hand, there is some value – hard to count – in keeping old cars alive. Especially signature cars, like the Beat. Mercedes is well-known for their parts policy and this contributes to propping up values and supporting a community that does nothing but building brand image. How do you quantify that?

    What annoyed me most with my classics was the supplier game on cars that came off the same assembly line, but with seemingly random parts. On my ’71 Volvo 145 there was no easy way to find out if it had Girling or ATE brakes, unless you had some kind of Volvo-wizard with you.

  2. crank_case Avatar

    I wish Suzuki did the same for the Cappuccino, mind you at least the K6A engine found its way into lots of other things, including a snowmobile, so service parts are generally easy to get.

  3. Dabidoh_Sambone Avatar

    Mostly related to this story and quite angering: I bought a Honda Beat from an auction I’m NOT ALLOWED TO NAME just off the grounds of the 2018 Amelia Island Concours, thought I’d gotten a good deal at $6000 on one with 70,000 km. Problem is, I didn’t inspect it prior to purchase as I arrived late to the auction and just trusted them to be honest. The turd they offloaded at my house on the other side of the state ran poorly, had a dying throwout bearing, check engine light, stinky exhaust, rattles aplenty, failed stereo and more.

    Here’s the rub: I poked around in the car and found a hidden compartment behind the driver’s seat which contained the owner’s manual – and a number of JDM receipts that showed the car had more than 185,000 km’s on it before the odometer had been rolled back. The auction company resisted my angry requests for a full refund – but later gave me a partial refund as long as I signed a NDA to not reveal who they were.

    Point being: trust but verify. Take a close look at your potential purchase before making the plunge. Were it not for the sad state of my Beat, this article on parts acquisition would be really, really relevant.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Awful story. Why not get a full refund and return the car? I can’t imagine any jurisdiction where a mileage rollback isn’t illegal.

      1. Dabidoh_Sambone Avatar

        Less ethical auctions like the one that boned me have a scapegoat to hide behind: the consignor. In my case they both hid behind the scapegoat and refused to tell me who he was. I consulted with two attorneys on my odds of winning a lawsuit and they felt that I’d be better off taking the partial refund and saving myself legal fees and the hassle. Maybe I should’ve bluffed, maybe I would’ve won. Who knows? But I learned my lesson. And to think I could’ve scored a very, very nice Figaro with service history at that auction for a bit over $10k. Oh well …

        If anyone here wants to set me up with a manual transmission Pao, I’m willing to check it out.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Not the first time I’ve heard of a rolled back odometer on a car exported from Japan.

          Which is not excusing what happened, I don’t imagine there is much effort put into checking out cars by some operators.

  4. 0A5599 Avatar

    A former employer used to have a customer who needed a source for replacement parts for some complicated equipment built during the Nixon Administration. Production quantity for the replacements was sometimes as much as 20, but mostly 1 or 2. All the production documentation was hand drawn and brittle. The parts cost 4 to 10 times what a modern part of similar function and complexity would cost.

  5. ptschett Avatar

    And the beatgift goes on
    (and on and on and on)

    (…I had to endure the song below as part of the grade-school Christmas program, at church, for one of my last years of being part of a grade-school Christmas program at church. Having been reminded of it, y’all must now be exposed to it too.)

  6. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    Kudos to Honda for making it easier to keep a signature car running. I wish BMW Motorcycles did more. The airheads from the 70s have a high survival rate but some stuff is unobtanium. The green face Motometer gauges are both very rare and very expensive so I have a dead clock and a white face VDO voltmeter. On the positive side, while BMW quit making iron liner cylinders years ago, the factory does offer the newer Nikasil jugs machined to fit a pre 1980 crankcase.

  7. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    you know what’d be a cool story? learning how the boring-car aftermarket works. sure we all know there’s a million upgrades for your 240SX, but why does someone still make and sell parts for a 25 year old Suzuki? who is doing that, and what does their design / manufacturing process look like compared to OEM? what quantities do they make, and how do they build distribution networks? when do they decide to stop making a certain part?

    i dunno. just curious. i have a 32 year old car, a 26 year old car, and a 21 year old car, and i can get nearly any part for any of them brand new, including genuine branded parts from the dealer in many cases. i don’t understand how this economy works.

    1. Eric Rucker Avatar

      Some of that may simply be… if that 25 year old Suzuki is a Swift/Cultus, they were still making new ones until 2016.

      (For the Pakistan market, but still. And, they were making it for China until 2015.)

      You get a lot of that with assorted economy cars, when they’re continued in production for developing markets.

    2. Eric Rucker Avatar

      Some of that may simply be… if that 25 year old Suzuki is a Swift/Cultus, they were still making new ones until 2016.

      (For the Pakistan market, but still. And, they were making it for China until 2015.)

      You get a lot of that with assorted economy cars, when they’re continued in production for developing markets.

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        true, maybe a bad hypothetical. nobody’s still building the cars i drive.

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