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Russian cars drop airbags, anti-lock brakes because of sanctions

A Russian automaker is building its cars without airbags, antilock brakes and other common safety features because the parts it needs are being blocked by international sanctions imposed over that country’s war with Ukraine.

The company, AvtoVAZ, had shut its plants because of the sanctions, but it resumed production this month after the Russian government loosened its 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 last week.

AvtoVAZ is now building its popular four-door sedan, the Lada Granta, with no airbags, ABS, electronic stability control or seat belt pretensioners. The car also falls short of neighboring countries’ emission standards.


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