(Adds GM comment, background)
DETROIT, March 28 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Friday that it had told its dealers to stop selling Chevrolet Cruze small cars equipped with 1.4-liter turbo diesel engines for an undisclosed issue, another blow for a company dealing with the crisis created by defective ignition switches linked to at least 12 deaths.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker said the affected Cruze cars from model years 2013 and 2014 are not being recalled. The move only covers the affected models that are unsold on dealer lots.
"I can just confirm that we put a stop-sale in last night," GM spokesman Alan Adler said.
He said he did not have any details on why the action was being taken, but said stop-sale orders can happen for various reasons. He said stop-sale orders mean the dealers need to do something to the vehicle before it can be sold.
Last month, GM recalled 1.6 million older-model cars globally to replace defective ignition switches that can be knocked out of the "run" position while driving, turning off the engine and disabling the airbags and other electrical components.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra is scheduled to testify to both chambers of Congress next week as members of the House and Senate seek to learn how the problem did not result in a recall earlier despite being first noted within the company in 2001.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Alden Bentley and Andrea Ricci)