Avis Europe

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 over 4,000 locations in 114 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.
Avis Europe is a leading car rental company in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, operating under an exclusive licence via the globally recognised Avis and Budget brands.
The Avis brand operates via a network of over 3,100 locations in 107 countries, through wholly owned subsidiaries in 14 corporate countries complemented by licence arrangements in a further 93 countries.
The Budget brand, acquired by Avis in March 2003, serves customers through around 900 locations in 62 countries. These are predominantly franchise businesses with corporate operations in Austria and Switzerland, together with a small number of locations in France and the UK.
Avis Europe enjoys close commercial ties with Cendant Corporation in the US - the owner of Avis Inc. - which owns the global rights to the Avis and Budget brands, including sharing technology and marketing initiatives. The companies actively cooperate to provide a worldwide seamless service and form one of the largest vehicle rental networks in the world. They are independently owned.


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.

Acquisition of remaining share of Avis Greece licensee. Now Avis Greece is the only corporate car rental company in the Greek market.

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.

Reverts to private ownership with 3 major shareholders, D'Ieteren, General Motors and Avis Inc.


Separates legally from its former owner, Avis Inc., whilst still remaining part of the Avis worldwide system. Avis Europe becomes the first car rental company in history to successfully float on the London Stock Exchange. In 3 years as a public company, Avis Europe triples its market value.

Wizard implementation commences in Europe . . . today this unique system processes 97% of Avis Europe's transactions and interfaces with all major global distribution systems.

Enters a worldwide advertising and marketing agreement with General Motors and begins featuring GM cars in its fleet worldwide.

Achieves market leadership in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, just 8 years after Avis Europe was founded. Begins expansion into the fleet leasing market.

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

© 2011 - Avis Rent A Car.