Three hundred and three people were killed when air bags failed to open as a result of faulty ignition switches in the model of cars that GM (GM) recalled last month, the Center for Auto Safety watchdog has calculated.
The number is far greater than the 13 people whose deaths GM has said were linked to the switches.
GM, which has recalled 1.6M vehicles because of the defect, said the center's data is "raw" and needs "rigorous analysis."
Pressure is growing on GM to compensate the victims even though some potential plaintiffs wouldn't be able to sue the company under the terms of its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009. The Center for Auto Safety and another advocacy group, Public Citizen, have called for a $1B fund, a proposal that GM hasn't ruled out.