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Meet India’s first MPV – the Kajah Kazwa, released decades before MPVs like Innova, Ertiga

India is a big automotive industry in which many manufacturers belong to foreign countries. It is not like there were no Indian manufacturers. many of them were declined registrations when they applied for it. Manufacturers like Hindustan Motors have already discontinued their brand and not many survived the tough competition. Homegrown manufacturers like Tata Motors and Mahindra still sell their vehicles, but they were launched in India in the late ’90s. Here is an Indian manufacturer, that wanted to launch an MPV or Multi-Purpose Vehicle which was made in India. The manufacturer was known as Kajah and their vehicle was known as Kazwa. Here is a video of the vehicle that has been uploaded on YouTube by Baiju N Nair on his channel.

The automotive vlogger showcases the exterior of the vehicle in detail. He then tells the story behind India’s first MPV. The vehicle was first imagined by Rajah Group, which is a tobacco-based company from Kerala. The company used to manufacture Ayurvedic health care and tobacco-based products and wanted to enter the Indian automobile business. Toyota entered the Indian market with the legendary Qualis in 2000 and Qualis helped them establish itself in the Indian market. Whereas in 1998, Kajah was trying to enter the Indian market. They built 4-5 prototypes for the government, but the government did not approve the vehicle.

Kajah sourced various components for the Kazwa from other different vehicles. As this would have been cheaper than manufacturing their own parts. The MPV’s exterior was built by a fibreglass body and gets a sheet metal. Kajah is still in the business of manufacturing fibreglass panels. Big manufacturers like Tata Marco Polo and Ashok Leyland source their glass panels from Kajah. The front of the MPV gets an infinity logo and a rectangular grille with more rectangles within. The MPV is coloured in Violet, a pretty odd choice, it seems, and from the first look you can make out that the vehicle is aimed to be an MPV.

 

From the side, we can see 13-inch wire-spoked wheels which were made by the manufacturer themselves. The Kazwa gets traditional door handles which we saw on cars from the ‘2000s era. All the four doors open normally, there are no sliding doors that we have seen on some MPVs. The manufacturer also added black cladding all over the vehicle so that it looks uniform with the design. Surprisingly, the Kazwa came with Air Conditioning, a premium feature for that era. It also got an instrument cluster that was sourced from other manufacturers.

Suspension duties were done by double wishbones, coil springs which offer a better ride quality than leaf springs. Kajah sourced a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine from Hindustan Motors and used it for their vehicle. The braking components were also sourced from Hindustan Motors. These parts are the same ones that were used on the Hindustan Contessa.

The MPV did clear the homologation and other regulations. This meant that the Kazwa met the norms and rules of the automotive industry at that time. The vlogger explains that the government did not give the manufacturer a small scale business status. Due to this, it would have been a loss-making business for the family. So, the family did not continue with the project. However, still, there are some examples of Kazwa that are still under operational condition.