AvtoVAZ, a Russian automaker, has started building vehicles without airbags, antilock brakes and other safety features because international sanctions are blocking imports of needed parts
The manufacturer had shut down its plants over the sanctions but resumed production this month when the Russian government loosened vehicle safety regulations.
"This is a very retrograde step," David Ward, executive president of the Global New Car Assessment Programme, which advocates for global safety standards, told NBC News.
The auto manufacturer is building its popular four-door sedan, the Lada Granta, without airbags, ABS, electronic stability control or seat belt pretensioners. The vehicle also does not meet emission standards in neighboring countries.
AvtoVAZ was part of Renault until May, when the French automaker turned the company over to the Russian government in protest of the Ukraine invasion.
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