Avis and sister brand Budget are respectively the #2 and #3 vehicle rental services worldwide behind Hertz. Avis is positioned in the premium segment, targeting an audience of corporate and "upscale leisure travellers", and has the larger system, comprising around 5,500 locations worldwide. Budget offers a more value-oriented service geared towards cost-conscious renters, and operates a global network of around 4,000 locations. The two businesses operate as separate brands, but share the same back-office structure. The group also owns "deep value" US operator Payless. Regional ownership of the two main brands was split for more than 25 years between two separate companies: Avis Budget Group, mainly in the Americas and Australasia; and Avis Europe primarily in EMEA. The two entities agreed to merge once again in 2011 and the group has continued to selectively acquire other international licensees and local competitors. At the beginning of 2013, the enlarged group also agreed to acquire car-share service Zipcar; followed in 2015 by Maggiore of Italy, FranceCars in 2016, UK-based ACL in 2017, and Morini of Italy and Turiscar of Portugal in 2018. The group also operates key partnerships with Alphabet Inc to service their Waymo self-driving fleet and with Lyft to offer drivers fast rentals. It even offers voice-operated rentals via Amazon's Alexa app. Larry De Shon is CEO but announced plans to leave in 2019 as soon as his successor can be found. Revenues rose for the 9th straight year in 2018 to a new high of $9.1bn, from some 40m rental transactions. Avis accounted for 58% of revenues, or $5.3bn; Budget for 34%, or $2.7bn, and other brands for the remainder. The group has a global fleet of around 650,000 vehicles, and is the third largest rental company by total revenues behind Enterprise and Hertz. Warren Avis established what is thought to be America's first airport car rental office in 1946 in Detroit. However the business struggled to keep up with market leader Hertz and went through several different owners. Its fortunes changed during the 1960s as a result of an iconic advertising campaign devised by New York's Doyle Dane Bernbach, which turned that #2 position into a badge of honour, claiming "We Try Harder". In 1996 the business was acquired by a forerunner to what would become the diversified conglomerate Cendant, and was combined with Budget six years later.
Capsule checked 29th May 2019
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Who are the competitors of Avis Budget? The five leading global passenger rental services are Enterprise Holdings, Hertz, Avis Budget, Europcar and Sixt.
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