Having recently returned from a leisurely and luxurious three-day jaunt from Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark in an Avis-supplied Volkswagen Passat, Telstar Logistics pauses today to remember Warren Avis, the founder of the Avis rental car company, who died this week at age 92. The New York Times provides Mr. Avis's obituary:
In 1946, when Mr. Avis opened his first Avis Airlines Rent-A-Car in Florida and Michigan, all his rival companies were in downtown garages.
So Mr. Avis, a former major in the Army Air Force who spent a great deal of time at airline terminals, decided to open rental centers at airports, where he reasoned thousands of airline passengers would need a ride.
“Nobody thought it would work,” Mr. Avis said in a 1987 interview. “There was incredible trouble. You had to get all the airlines to cooperate. Where did you put the cars?”
But it did work. Avis employees parked the cars outside airport terminals, and customers, who were at first confused, soon figured out the new system.
Within a decade, Avis was second in size only to Hertz — a fact the company would later promote to its benefit in advertisements that carried the tagline, “We try harder.”
Alas, we picked up our Passat in downtown Stockholm, and returned it in downtown Copehagen, but never mind -- it was a stroke of location, location, location genius to identify the nexus between rental cars and arriving airline passengers, and for this we can all be grateful. And so to Warren Avis we say: Thank you, good luck, and have a pleasant trip.