Warren Avis, 92, a canny entrepreneur for decades after selling the nation's first car-rental business to be located at airports, has died.
The founder of Avis Rent A Car died Tuesday of natural causes at his farm in Ann Arbor, Mich., with his wife, Yanna, at his side, the Avis family said.
A decorated bomber pilot with the Army Air Corps in World War II, Mr. 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.
He said he got the idea for the business when he was a pilot and could not find ground transportation once he arrived at airports.
Mr. Avis built what became the world's largest car-rental system until it was overtaken by Hertz after years of ferocious competition. He 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.