"It's been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as COVID continues to cast a pall over any recovery. Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges ... above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said.
The trade body estimates registrations will climb 19 percent to 1.96 million in 2022 as the semiconductor shortage eases and demand for battery-powered vehicles grows. The figure would still be well below the 2.3 million sold in 2019.
The group said it will update that forecast -- formulated in October shortly before the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron coronavirus variant -- again later this month.
"How good that growth is depends on the supply-chain issues being resolved," Hawes told reporters during a briefing. "We know that the demand is there, the technology is there, the new models are there."
Globally the car industry has been one of the hardest hit by supply-chain difficulties, and Germany, Europe's biggest market for new cars, reported a 10 percent fall in sales for last year.
The SMMT said the main bright spot was rapid growth in sales of electric vehicles. Some 190,000 battery electric vehicles were registered last year, more than in the previous five years combined. Alongside 115,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles, these accounted for 18.5 percent of new car registrations in 2021