David Chittenden, a director at Colliers CRE based in Birmingham, is to head the firm’s national automotive and roadside group.
He succeeds Robert Hilton, who is creating a new Europe-focused automotive property investment company in partnership with Colliers Capital, the fund management arm of Colliers CRE.
Associate director Scott Gilhooly will join Hilton and head up acquisitions for the new venture.
Chittenden said Colliers was ahead of forecast for turnover for this year due to the amount of activity within the automotive property sector.
He said: “If you’re looking to acquire sites it’s a good time, simply because property values have dropped by 10-15% over the last six months.
“But you have to remember that if you’re selling a site to fund the acquisition, that will also be valued considerably less than it was six months ago.”
Despite his optimism for the property industry, Chittenden believes the media is to blame for the economic downturn.
Chittenden said: “It’s a very difficult market and car sales are down. I think the media has talked us into a recession and as a result, dealers have been forced to make redundancies and close sites.
“Build costs are going up and values are going down, so it’s a difficult time for dealers.”
Chittenden wants to see manufacturers working more closely with dealers in order to reduce the pressure put on them to relocate and invest in newer facilities.
He said: “Dealers are often faced with complex property issues and it can be a distraction from their main concentration on selling cars.”
Chittenden has worked within the automotive sector for 20 years.
Before joining Colliers CRE in 1999 to establish a new automotive division, he worked for GVA Grimley in the north-west and north-east.
Colliers CRE advised more than 100 different clients in 2007 including Peugeot, Inchcape, Kwik Fit, Mercedes-Benz UK and Arnold Clark.