Over the past four decades, Elledge was joined in the business first by his son, Roger Elledge, and more recently by his grandson, Roger Elledge II. And while the family has seen many changes in the car business, they agreed, Sikeston Motor Co.'s goals of sales and service has remained the same.
"I think we have always tried to be an honest, good dealership," said Roger Elledge II. "We have always worked to build a relationship with our customers. Anyone can sell a car once but you bring customers back by building a relationship through quality service - whether it is in sales, our automotive service, repairs or parts."
And, his father added, in their 41 years of business, Sikeston Motor Co. has always stressed customer satisfaction. "There are a lot of advantages to buying local and getting your vehicle serviced locally," he said. "We are here for the customer."
The more than 50 employees who make up the dealership include those who have been part of the firm for many years such as Tom Kelley, parts manager, and Mark Breedlove, service technician as well as other employees with over 10-years-plus experience. Then there are those who have joined more recently, infusing new blood into the operation. This blend of experience and enthusiasm has worked well, Elledge II said.
The company has earned numerous awards from Ford Motors over the years, including being Blue-Oval Certified, which honors appearance and training. On several occasions, the local dealership received the Ford's President's Award and is recognized as a Lincoln Premier Experience dealer, meeting rigorous standards set by Ford Motor Co.
One of the changes the Elledges said they have seen in their business is the technology involved in automobiles today. Those working on vehicles must be factory-trained to provide the repairs and maintenance to keep a vehicle operating properly.
According to Elledge II, employees are constantly undergoing updates on the changes as well as the innovations being introduced by Ford such as the hybrids and diesel vehicles. Sikeston Motor Co.'s master-certified technicians have not only completed Ford's classes but also many have developed specialities, Elledge II said.
The sales staff also receives updates as Sikeston Motor Co. welcomes the latest in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models onto its lot.
"Ford is definitely listening to customers in what they are designing and that is reflected in the Mustang and the F150," said Elledge II. "We are excited with the 2006 products Ford has come out with such as the Ford Fusion, the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln Zephyr, all good mileage cars."
The crossover utility vehicles, including the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, which are coming this fall, reflect the interest in meeting a growing market demand, he said. Also ahead for Ford are the new 2007 Expedition and the Navigator and the 2008 model year will bring a new super-duty diesel model.
Elledge II said he is hopeful the dealership will be among the few Ford will provide a new Shelby GT 500 Mustang. The 500 horsepower, supercharged Mustang is designed by Carol Shelby.
Although Sikeston Motor Co. has a wide selection of new and pre-owned units on its lot at 1030 S. Main St., Elledge II said the company works hard to find the exact car a customer wants. This can include contacting other dealers for a new model or attending an auction to find a used vehicle
While the company's typical customers come from about a 60-mile radius of Sikeston, Elledge pointed out with Sikeston Motor Co.'s Internet presence at sikestonmotorco.com the company is drawing buyers from even farther away. Their cars have gone to drivers on the West Coast and they even shipped a vehicle to Europe.
Elledge II takes pride in low-pressure sales and the financing options the staff can make available. He pointed out while the company makes use of Ford Motor Credit it also has other avenues for financing vehicles. Often he said the company can help those who have had financing problems in the past purchase the car they want.
Service isn't just limited to searching out the right car, competitive pricing or providing the best financing deals, added Elledge II. Follow up, he continued, is a big part of Sikeston Motor Co. He pointed out when a car leaves the lot for the first time, the fuel tank is full and the first oil change is free. When a car is in the shop the business offers a loaner car or a shuttle service for the car owner.
"We are a locally-owned business who believes in being aggressive - aggressive in keeping our customers and trying to do what is needed to be done to get new and former business," said Elledge. "You don't have to go far to find a good deal. It's here."