A luxury car salesman who sourced "unpopular" Bentleys has lost his employment tribunal fight after profits tumbled on his watch.

Kenneth Purdon was employed by the Sytner Group Ltd as a sales manager at the brand's Edinburgh dealership from January 3 2018 until January 3 2023. 

Under his stewardship, in 2021, the franchise was named Retailer of the Year for used cars.

His basic salary was £32,500 plus benefits including a company vehicle.

He was also entitled to various bonus schemes and all but one - the stretch bonus -  were directly related to his own performance.

Bentley is one of the highest class brandsBentley is one of the highest class brands (Image: free)

The stretch scheme was based on net profits across all the firm's dealerships which included; Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini.

On January 3 2022, he was told that the method of recording profits from sales of vehicles previously used as display cars would be changed.

Typically, the total profit paid by Bentley to the dealer on the sale of an ex-demonstrator car was 14% of its value.

That was made up of a 'front end' profit of 9% paid at the time of the sale and a 'back end' profit of 5% which the manufacturer retains until a guarantee period has elapsed.

Dominic Bell, head of business, told the claimant that in future back end profits would only be recorded as profit when released by the manufacturer.

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Mr Purdon was concerned that this change meant that profits would be shown as being less than they truly were.

However, Mr Bell assured him that this same method was being employed by the other UK Bentley dealerships.

The tribunal heard that in May 22 Bentley Edinburgh's year-to-date performance on sales of used cars was £104,000 behind its budgeted target although sales of new cars continued to perform well.

Its profit per car sold was also the lowest out of all the Bentley dealerships throughout the UK that year.

Mr Bell is said to have spoken to Mr Purdon frequently about their concerns about his performance and how this could improve.

He was especially critical that the sales manager had bought cars that were "unlikely to have a high following" including a bright yellow Bentley and a bright orange Bentley Bentayga, the latter of which was in stock for six months and resulted in a loss to the dealership of £13,500.

He was also concerned that vehicles were often photographed poorly or against inappropriate and messy backgrounds. Stone chips could be seen in paintwork and vehicle interiors were dirty.

The sales manager acknowledged during a performance review that his used car sales performance was concerning.


Mr Purdon was told by Robert Berry (Franchise Director for Scotland) that his performance was no longer acceptable and that if he did not improve he would have to consider taking him down a formal performance management route.

A new sales manager who previously worked at the Lamborghini dealership was appointed to "restore" Bentley Edinburgh's performance in used cars by acting as a  "second pair of eyes".

Mr Bell assured the claimant that he was to remain in his role as sales manager and his responsibilities would continue.

The tribunal heard that Mr Purdon was concerned the appointment would affect his earning potential and he resigned from his post, following a meeting with managers on September 28 2022.

Mr Bell sought to persuade him to withdraw his resignation on several occasions.

Mr Purdon took the firm to an employment tribunal claiming he was constructively dismissed following management action to address his alleged poor performance.

However, the tribunal found there was "ample objective evidence" of the claimant’s underperformance in used car sales throughout 2022.

In his written judgement employment judge Robert King said: "It was clear from the evidence that Bentley Edinburgh had been significantly underperforming throughout 2022 in used car sales, for which the claimant was responsible.

"He had made poor buying on cars that had become ‘issue cars’ and had been sold at a loss.

"He had made mistakes when marketing cars. He had overspent on commission payments to brokers."

The tribunal was told that prior to his resignation Mr Purdon had "made no secret" of his desire to set up his own business.