The poor December numbers were a result of lockdowns and the global supply crisis which dealt serious blows to the industry during 2021, LMC said.
'Looking ahead, although headwinds to sales include renewed concerns over coronavirus, with a generally solid economic back drop, there is a clear mismatch between market activity and underlying demand,' they said, adding that disruption is likely to ease in 2022.
Turning to December sales in the largest markets, in Germany, sales were down 26.9%at 227,630 units. Overall, 2021 sales were down 10.1% on 2020.
In the UK, 2021 sales were up 1.0% or 15,000 units compared with the 2020 total of 1.6m. Although annual sales were up slightly, December was a bad month for forecourt sales. These were down by 18.2% at 108,000 cars.
In France, the total number of cars sold in 2021 was up very slightly at 1.66m units. December sales were down by 15% at 158,000 vehicles.
Spanish sales were down by 18.7% in the month at 86,081 units. The annual total was 859,000 units, up 1.0%.
Meanwhile, in Italy sales were down by 27.5% at 86,679 units in December. A total of 1.46m vehicles have been sold there in the year, up 5.5% on the 2020 figure.
Stand-out growth occurred in small markets in 2021 with Greece up 27% at 101,000 units and Norway up 24.6% at 176,000 units.