Where the journey beganIn 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 operates from over 5,000 locations in 165 countries worldwide.
Avis is a trusted and award-winning brand with a long history of innovation in the car rental industry, and is one of the world's top brands for customer loyalty, with a commitment to true convenience and exceptional service.
Below are a few, key historical milestones in our success story:
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.
International expansion begins with franchise operations in Europe, Canada and Mexico.
Avis launches a 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.
Avis 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.
Avis achieves market leadership in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, just eight years after Avis Europe was founded. The business begins expansion into the fleet leasing market.
Avis Europe becomes the first car rental company in history to successfully float on the London Stock Exchange. In three years as a public company, Avis Europe triples its market value.
Avis Europe reverts to private ownership with three major shareholders, D'Ieteren, General Motors and Avis Inc.
Avis Europe successfully floats on the London Stock Exchange for the second time, primarily to fund expansion of its core business.
Avis Europe acquires the rights to operate the Budget brand in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Awarded the 'World's Leading Business Car Rental Company' at the World Travel Awards for the seventh consecutive year.
Awarded the 'Best Car Rental Company in Europe' at the Business Traveller Awards for the tenth consecutive year.
Avis launch their most groundbreaking advert in 50 years, inspiring customers to Unlock the World. Unforgettable experiences await ... You hold the key.
In South Africa1967
Zeda Car Rental and Tours (Pty) Ltd was established in Bloemfontein. Shortly thereafter, Federale Volksbeleggings Bpk, a division of Sanlam, acquired a majority shareholding in the company. Shortly thereafter, Federale went into a joint venture with Avis Rent A Car Systems Incorporated.
Zeda Car Rental and Tours adopts the Avis Rent a Car name and the brand is officially launched in South Africa.
Following the adoption of the Avis name, the business grew steadily and by 1972, the car rental business had expanded to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. During this period, Glenn van Heerden joined the company.
The company was represented country-wide and in 1980 it diversified into full maintenance leasing. To accommodate this diversification, Zeda Car Rental & Tours (PTY) Ltd changed its name to Zeda Car Leasing (PTY) Ltd.
The company has grown into the largest licensee outside the USA and was registered as Zeda Holdings (Pty) Ltd. The business began to expand beyond the borders into Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland and administered sub-licensees in Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zeda Holdings entered into an agreement with the international company which allowed them access to the Wizard real time, on-line computer system which services Avis operations around the world.
The Federale name changed several times and in 1992 the name Fedservices changed to Servgro International Limited. Servgro listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange in August 1992, with Servgro holding 85% of the shares and Avis senior management holding 15% of the shares.
Avis was awarded the SABS ISO 9002 quality management system.
Servgro unbundled and Avis Southern Africa was listed on the Johannesburg, Namibian and Botswana Stock Exchanges.
Avis Luxury cars was introduced, offering customers luxurious self-drive spoils and in 2001 Avis Chauffeur Drive was introduced. This is also the year Avis entered the commercial vehicle market through the Avis Van Rental agreement, all operated as sub - licensees. Starting in Cape Town with only 15 vehicles, this has grown to 2200 vehicles to date.
Grenville Wilson introduced the Avis Brand Ambassador way of life to Avis, a programme aimed at engendering a culture of “choose to” people within Avis. In the same year Avis introduced its Point 2 Point service.
Barloworld Limited acquired the full ownership of Avis Southern Africa, hence the delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Avis is now proudly a division of Barloworld South Africa (PTY) Ltd.
2007 - 2009
Avis spent in the region of R250-million on upgrading its turnaround facilities and selected rental branches around the country.
Avis became the first car rental company to become carbon neutral.