Plaintiffs' lawyers are seeking to draw Continental Automotive Systems U.S., the maker of airbag systems in recalled General Motors vehicles, into litigation over an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to 13 deaths.
A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in California is the first to name Continental, a subsidiary of German automotive supplier Continental AG , in a growing wave of litigation over GM's recall, which has so far encompassed 2.6 million vehicles.
Continental made airbag systems for the recalled cars, including sensors that determine if and when the airbags go off in an accident, according to the suit.
The California lawsuit says that Continental's system was defective because the airbag system would shut off when the key switched positions, and the combination of alleged defects was "particularly dangerous", the complaint said.
Continental said on Friday that it had not seen the suit so could not comment on its details.
"Our systems meet global technology standards and entirely fulfill the exact specifications of our customers," the company said in an emailed statement.
A spokeswoman told Reuters on April 7 that it is a "global industry practice that the airbags do not deploy if the ignition is in the off position."
GM spokesman Greg Martin declined to comment. The company has previously apologized for the switch problems and said it is working to replace the faulty parts.