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FRANKFURT: Opel will close one of its plants in Germany until the “start of 2022” as a global chip shortage holds back production, a spokesman for the carmaker said Thursday.

The auto industry found itself “in an exceptional situation due to the continuing pandemic and the worldwide shortage of semiconductors,” the spokesman said.

“In this demanding situation, Stellantis plans to adjust its production,” the spokesperson said, referring to Opel’s parent company.

The factory in Eisenach, in central Germany, will stop production from next week and “start again at the beginning of 2022, to the extent the supply chain situation allows.”

Employees at the factory in Eisenach will be furloughed, while the plant is closed.

Like other countries, Germany is struggling with shortages of key raw materials including plastics, steel and timber.

The country’s vital auto industry has been particularly hard hit by the scarcity in semiconductors, a crucial component in both conventional and electric vehicles, forcing carmakers to trim production.

Earlier this year, Germany’s biggest car manufacturer Volkswagen limited production at its main plant in Wolfsburg, while the same Opel plant in Eisenach also saw a stoppage in August.

In all, an estimated 7.7 million vehicles will not be produced this year as a result of components lacking, research by the Alix Partners consultancy suggested, estimating the loss in revenue at 210 billion euros ($243.5 billion).

Rising demand in electronic goods and the pandemic which disrupted trade have contributed to the shortfall in components.

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