November 6, 2005 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Research released today reveals 87 percent of Americans are unable to accurately name all four U.S. presidents featured on Mount Rushmore National Memorial, according to a study conducted by Goodmind, a New York-based research firm, on behalf of the Jeep® brand. In celebration of the launch of the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander and the 65th anniversary of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, an icon of American history and the commanders in chief, the Jeep brand developed the Jeep Commander in History contest, an educational program to encourage America's youth to take an earnest interest in our nation's deep history and the legacy of our founding fathers.    
"With this Jeep and Goodmind study, we identified the need to promote civics and national history education," said Jeff Bell, Vice President – Jeep. "With the launch of the all-new Jeep Commander, we thought it was a good opportunity to reach the younger generation and instill an interest in our nation's past." 
The Jeep Commander in History contest is open to seventh-graders — an age when American History is a central part of the curriculum — who will be asked to submit an essay with their thoughts on the following:

  • Choose one of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial presidents and explain what you feel was his most important contribution to the history of the United States
  • What advice would you give the current president and future commanders in history that would support America’s ideals of freedom?

The contest begins on Nov. 7, 2005, one week after the completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial 64 years ago. Jeep will distribute the Jeep Commander in History educational materials to 11,000 teachers as an additional resource in educating students about American presidential history.

Contest Details
Student essays can be submitted by parents, guardians or teachers online at or via U.S. mail. Gift certificates to an office supply superstore worth $150 will be given to the first 100 teachers who submit their student's essays. Entries will be judged on creativity, clear content, logical thought and proper use of language. Essays must either be postmarked or submitted online by Friday, Feb. 3, 2006, and the grand prize winner will be announced on Monday, March 6, 2006, one day after the bill was signed in 1925 granting permission for Mount Rushmore to be carved.  
The author of the grand prize-winning entry will be awarded a family vacation for up to seven members total to Mount Rushmore National Memorial during 2006, the monument's and the Jeep brand's 65th anniversary year. In addition, 100 first prize and 100 second prize winners will receive Jeep gear.
Survey Says
Goodmind conducted the OmniVox survey of nine questions, on behalf of Jeep, via telephone methodology to access consumer knowledge of Mount Rushmore and general presidential trivia. A total of 1,042 respondents completed the survey. Other findings include:

  • Almost one in ten 18- to 24-year-olds incorrectly named Abraham Lincoln as the first president of the U.S.
  • Three percent of college graduates could not name the current president of the United States
  • More than half (52%) of respondents did not know that Franklin D. Roosevelt was president for most of World War II
  • If given the option, 22 percent of people surveyed chose JFK as the president they would most want to see on Mount Rushmore followed by Ronald Reagan (21%) and Franklin Roosevelt (15%). (Disclaimer: Mount Rushmore National Memorial will never be able to add another president to the monument per an agreement with the family of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor responsible for the carvings)
  • More than half the respondents (51%) were unable to name Andrew Jackson as the president on the U.S. $20 bill
  • More than half (51%) of those surveyed couldn't place the quote "Speak softly, but carry a big stick" with Theodore Roosevelt
  • Fifty-six percent didn't recognize Harry Truman's quote "The buck stops here"

Jeep Commander
Unlike other SUVs on the road today, the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander is the first seven-passenger 4x4 that is Jeep Trail Rated TM , and it is the only SUV in its class to offer a choice of two V-8 engines.

The introduction of the Jeep Commander signals the Jeep brand's commitment to remaining the leader in the SUV market, a market that Jeep invented nearly 65 years ago. The Jeep Commander expands and strengthens the Jeep lineup, which consists of Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee.