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An in-depth look at India’s first MPV, the Kajah Kazwa

The Indian automobile industry has become one of the biggest in the world. Over the years, many foreign manufacturers have set-up its camps in India and a few of them have exited the market too. When it comes to the Indian manufacturers, there are a few well-flourished manufacturers while brands like Hindustan Motors have shut its shop. Well, there are quite a few other Indian manufacturers that showed interest to enter the market but due to various reasons, they could not. Here is one such manufacturer – Kajah, which wanted to enter the market with India’s first MPV – the Kazwa. Here is the video review of the vehicle, about 23 years after it was made.

The video by Biju Nair shows the vehicle from all around and also tells us the story behind what could have been – India’s first MPV. It was conceptualized by Rajah Group – a Kerala-based tobacco-based products manufacturer and ayurvedic healthcare service provider intended to enter the automobile business. It was in the year 1998, just two years before Toyota entered the market with the Qualis and established itself for the coming decades. Kajah did build 4-5 prototypes for the Govt approval but they did not get it. More on that later.

The Kajah Kazwa was made with various components from different vehicles. The MPV is based on the sheet steel platform and gets a fiber glass body. Kajah is still manufacturing fiber glass panels of manufacturers like Tata Marco Polo and Ashok Leyland. Even the vehicle is very old and was designed many years ago; it does look modern. The front also gets an infinity-type logo and a mesh grille.

The side profile reveals the wired-spoked wheels, which were probably fabricated by themselves inhouse. The design of the handles also looks modern compared to the cars from 1998. The dual-tone job adds a cladding like look to the vehicle and makes it look rugged too. The cabin looks good and offers features like AC, an instrument console, which was also seen in some of the vehicles from that era.

It also used double wishbones coil springs, which offers a better ride than leaf springs. There are also semi-floating coil springs in the rear. It rides on 13-inch wheels. The MPV was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, which was supplied by Hindustan Motors. The suspension ad braking systems also came from Hindustan Motors. These parts were used in the Hindustan Contessa too.

Kajah Kazwah did clear all the homologation and other regulations, which means that the vehicle was properly sealed and met the auto industry standards from that time. However, according to the video, the Indian government did not give it a small scale business status. The family did the calculations and figured out that it will be a loss-making business and will not survive the market.

The project was abandoned after that. However, there are a couple of examples of the car that are still in operational condition. Soon after that Toyota entered the market with the Qualis, which became a blockbuster in the market. To replace the Qualis, the brand launched the Innova, which still rules the segment and sells like hot cakes. Kajah is not the only company that tried building a car and selling it in the Indian market, there are many other names that failed to take off.