Warren Avis Dies at 92

Warren Avis, of the nation's first car rental business to be located at airports, died April 24 at the age of 92.

The founder of Avis Rent A Car died of natural causes at his farm in Ann Arbor, Mich. with his wife, Yanna, at his side, the Avis family said in a statement, the Associated Press reports.

Avis formed his car rental company in 1946 at airports in Miami and Ypsilanti, Mich., with an investment of $85,000. He started with two employees and fewer than 200 cars.

A decorated bomber pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, Avis said he got the idea for the business when he was a pilot and couldn't find ground transportation once he arrived at airports.

Avis built what became the world's largest car rental system until it was overtaken by Hertz after years of competition. Avis sold his interest in the business for $8 million in 1954.

The company is now called Avis Rent A Car System LLC and is part of Parsippany, N.J.-based Avis Budget Group, Inc.

According to the AP, later in his career Avis headed Avis Enterprises, which invested in high-technology electronics companies, mostly in the Midwest. His other ventures included Avis Sports Inc., which owned wholesale sporting goods businesses in Portland, Ore., Sauk Rapids, Minn., and Morehead City, N.C.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

Why Do We Visit Capitol Hill?

Members of the American Car Rental Association met with U.S. senators, representatives, and their aides last week. Here’s why bringing the message to this forum matters.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

Not caving to a customer with a blatant agenda may have consequences, especially for a small rental company that relies on stellar Yelp ratings to advertise. But business integrity must prevail.

The Truth Behind Compact Van Depreciation

Why are large van values holding up better than their compact counterparts, and will it last?

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.