In Memoriam: Warren Avis – 1915 - 2007
DETROIT – Warren Avis, a founder of Avis Rent A Car, died Apr. 24, according to the L.A. Daily News. He was 92. He died of natural causes at his farm in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Avis family said in a statement.
A bomber pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, 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. 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 now is called Avis Rent A Car System LLC and is part of Parsippany, N.J.-based Avis Budget Group, Inc.