History & Timeline

Our history

Our company has a rich history and an innovative future. Check out our timeline below of how Avis Budget Group became the brand it is today.

Avis is Founded

Avis is founded. Find out from Warren Avis himself why opening the first car rental business at an airport turned out to be such a brilliant idea.

Avis Starts in Australia

Eric McIllree signs license to start up Avis in Australia.

Budget Rent a Car is Founded in Los Angeles

Morris Mirkin spots a gap in the market and Budget Rent a Car is founded in Los Angeles with $10,000 investment, and one co-worker – his wife.

We Try Harder.

The “We try harder” slogan is launched. Here, its creator explains the thinking behind it, and why it has been called one of the ten best advertising slogans of all time. Watch the full Google Re:Brief video.

Expansion Across the Globe

Avis expands, creating the Europe, Africa and Middle East division.

Wizard is Introduced

A major technological breakthrough, Wizard, is introduced. It’s the first online, reservation, and rental management information system that works in real time.

Avis is the Market Leader

Avis becomes the market leader in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, just eight years after Avis Europe was founded.

Rapid Return is Introduced, Banishing Queuing

Another industry first – Rapid Return – is introduced. It banishes queuing, by allowing customers to return to their cars in under 60 seconds using the latest handheld technology to swipe their car’s barcode.

Avis and Qantas

First global agreement between Avis and Qantas.

Zipcar Co-Founders Meet in Cambridge

Zipcar co-founders Robin Chase and Antje Danielson meet and begin discussing creating a car-sharing service in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Zipcar Launches

Zipcar officially launches in Cambridge, Massachusetts with its first vehicle

Zipcar Launches University Program at Harvard

Zipcar launches its University program, starting with Harvard University.

Avis Budget Group is Created

Avis and Budget join forces to create the second largest car rental company in the world, Avis Budget Group.

The European Business Support Centre Opens

The European Business Support Centre opens in Budapest, offering everything from customer service to finance in 14 countries.

Zipcar for Business Launches

Zipcar launches Zipcar for Business.

Largest Car-Sharing Provider

Zipcar merges with car-sharing competitor FlexCar, becoming the largest car-sharing provider in the world.

First Car-Sharing Company on Two Continents

Zipcar merges with UK-based Streetcar car club, becoming the first car-sharing company on two continents.

Zipcar Goes Public on NASDAQ

Zipcar goes public on NASDAQ, listed as ZIP.

Servicing Customers Worldwide

The acquisition of Avis Europe is completed, previously an independently owned licensee of Avis Budget Group, creating EMEA Region, which enables us to more effectively serve our customers worldwide.

10th Year of Best Car Rental Company in Europe

The Group expands and acquires Zipcar and Payless Car Rental. We are also awarded ‘Best Car Rental Company in Europe’ at the Business Traveler awards for the 10th year in a row.

Innovation in Silicon Valley

Zipcar acquires fleet management startup LocalMotion, establishing a base of innovation in Silicon Valley.

1M Members Worldwide

Zipcar reaches 1 million members worldwide.

New Support for Waymo

Agreement signed to offer fleet support and maintenance services for Waymo’s self-driving car program at Avis Car Rental and Budget Car Rental locations.

Amazon Alexa Can Now Book Your Trip

Amazon Alexa integration announced, allowing travelers to book and manage car rental reservations through the popular voice platform on Amazon Echo devices.

Mobility Lab Launches

Launch of our first “Mobility Lab” that serves as a test bed for fully connected vehicles and operations in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.

Thousands of Rental Cars Added to Lyft’s Fleet

The cars will allow people to drive with Lyft without the cost and burden of car ownership.

100K+ Connected Cars on the Road

A milestone that promises to further improve the traveler experience, increase operational efficiencies, and benefit smart city planning.

Curbside Delivery Rolled Out

Saving customer’s time and hassle, a bonus for those toting heavy luggage, strollers, and sports or trade show equipment.

Avis and Ford Connect 35K Vehicles

Partnership with Ford making renting vehicles easier for customers and improving efficiency by connecting 35K+ Ford Motor Company vehicles in Avis Budget Group’s U.S. fleet.

Moving Car Rental From Counter to Cloud

To make all cars connected by 2020, giving new ways to rent vehicles and better ways to manage the fleet — the Group partners with Amazon Web Services for storage and processing.

Expanded Partnership with Continental

Offers connected, on-demand, keyless experience equipping 50,000 vehicles with Key as a Service technology, 25,000 of which are in Europe.

Reinventing Rental with the Avis App

The game-changing new features empower travelers, giving straight-to-vehicle access, the ability to select or upgrade a vehicle at pick up, and much more.

Founding Partner in Urban Movement Labs

A first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to accelerate transportation innovation, focusing on developing, testing and rolling out innovative transit solutions.

Recognized for Support of Women in the Workplace

Honored as the winner of The Creating a Company Culture for Women to Advance and Succeed Award at the inaugural WINiT Awards presented by the Global Business Travel Association.

Avis Named #1 Car Rental Travel App by J.D. Power

The Avis mobile app ranked the highest in customer satisfaction, receiving the highest score out of all rental car travel apps in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study.

200,000+ Connected Vehicles

Connected fleet offers trifecta of benefits: operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and new revenue models.

Partnership with Uber Offers More Flexible Vehicle Access for Drivers

Offering more flexible access to high-quality vehicles.

Our Safety Pledge

Avis Budget Group delivers Avis Safety Pledge and Budget Worry-Free Promise through agreements with Lysol, Hip Hop Public Health and Renowned Group of Medical Professionals.

Plan On Us™

Avis unveils “Plan On Us™” brand campaign; a commitment to customer excellence.