In 1946 Warren Avis opened the world's first airport car rental location at Willow Run Airport, Detroit, with a grand total of three cars. Today, Avis worldwide operates in 5,200 locations in 165 countries. Energy, enthusiasm, innovative industry leadership and an ethos of continuous improvement have characterised the company for many years.
Here are a few key historical milestones in this success story.
In our days
Avis Car Rental and its subsidiaries operate one of the world's best-known car rental brands with approximately 5,200 locations in 165 countries. Avis has a long history of innovation in the car rental industry and is one of the world's top brands for customer loyalty. Avis is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), which operates and licenses the brand throughout the world.
Avis Budget Group acquires Avis Europe plc. The transaction re-unites Avis Budget Group with its licensee for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Introduces the unique "3 Minute Promise" at over 500 locations in France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal and Switzerland. With "3 Minute Promise" Avis Preferred customers get their keys in under 3 minutes - significant reduction of customers awaiting time.
Opens a new shared service centre in Budapest in January 2004, as part of the continuing investment in technology to create a flexible platform for the future growth and development of the Avis Group.
Acquires the rights to operate the Budget brand in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Began operations in Tanzania and Mali, increasing the territories served in the Africa and Indian Ocean region to thirty-five.
Avis continues to expand in China through its joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Sales Corporation SAISC). With 10 stations in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Suzhou, plans are progressing to extend to Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou by the end of 2004. Avis China provides a full range of Rent A Car and leasing services with and without chauffeurs.
Expands into Asia with a Licensee agreement to grow car rental operations into the Japanese market and signs a joint venture agreement with Mercury Car Rentals Ltd. to operate car rental in 9 major cities in India. The launch of services in these cities forms the platform for an aggressive expansion programme for business growth encompassing the major business and leisure centres throughout India.
Successfully floats on the London Stock Exchange for the second time primarily to fund expansion of its core business. Extends licence to the Avis name and brand to a further 27 territories in Asia, giving the Group access to a vast new market.
Accelerates global partnerships development, forging new alliances with leading names in the worldwide travel industry. Now with over 80 airline partners worldwide and many other international travel providers.
Sells substantially all its leasing operations to GE Capital Fleet Services.
Wizard implementation commences in Europe . . . today this unique system processes 97% of Avis Europe's transactions and interfaces with all major global distribution systems.
Introduces a major technological innovation... the Wizard computer system... the first and today, still the most extensive on-line, real-time reservation, rental and management information system in the industry.
Formally expands in the international arena by founding the Europe, Africa and Middle East division (Avis Europe). Corporate operations are established in major European countries and in some cases success is spectacular e.g. in Spain, Avis climbs from newcomer to largest car rental company in just one year.
Launches bold new advertising campaign... 'We're only No.2. We try harder'... now acknowledged as one of the 10 best advertising slogans of all time and embedded as the very essence of the company's culture. The campaign brings Avis back into the black after many years in the red.
International expansion begins with franchise operations in Europe, Canada and Mexico.
Warren Avis founds Avis Airlines Rent a Car Systems at Willow Run Airport, Detroit. Anticipating post-war travel trends, this is the world's first car rental operation at an airport location.