160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The company now is called Avis Rent A Car System LLC and is part of Parsippany, N.J.-based Avis Budget Group, Inc. Later in his career, Avis headed Avis Enterprises, which invested in high-technology electronics companies, mostly in the Midwest. His other ventures included Avis Sports Inc., which owned wholesale sporting goods businesses in Portland, Ore., Sauk Rapids, Minn., and Morehead City, N.C. A Ford Motor Co. dealership in the Detroit suburb of Southfield that preceded the car-rental business still bears his name, while AvisFarms, a pair of office parks in Ann Arbor, were sold in recent years, said Patricia Kalmbach, president of Avis Enterprises. After selling a Detroit-based manufacturing conglomerate, Avis in 1970 moved to the farm in Ann Arbor, where he would operate his businesses from a converted barn, said Kalmbach, who began with Avis as a bookkeeper in 1981. With success, Avis befriended famous socialites including actor Cary Grant, hotelier Nicky Hilton and entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. DETROIT – Warren Avis, a canny entrepreneur for decades after selling the nation’s first car rental business to be located at airports, died Tuesday. He was 92. The founder of Avis Rent A Car died of natural causes at his farm in Ann Arbor with his wife, Yanna, at his side, the Avis family said in a statement. A decorated bomber pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, 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. Avis said he got the idea for the business when he was a pilot and couldn’t find ground transportation once he arrived at airports. Avis built what became the world’s largest car rental system until it was overtaken by Hertz after years of ferocious competition. Avis sold his interest in the business for $8 million in 1954.