Budget Rent A Car was founded by Morris Mirkin in 1958 with a $24,000 investment. The company name was chosen to appeal to the "budget-minded" or “value-conscious” renter. In 1959, in an effort to grow the business, Mirkin appealed to a distant relative, Jules Lederer, president of a Chicago-based manufacturer of writing instruments, for additional financing. Lederer formed a leasing company and leased new vehicles to Mirkin. In 1960, Lederer formed Budget Rent A Car Corporation in Chicago. The company then grew rapidly, both nationally and internationally.
In 1986, Gibbons, Green and van Amerongen Ltd. along with management and selected investors purchased Budget from Transamerica Corp. in a LBO transaction. Budget made an initial public offering of 3.2 million shares in 1987.
In 1992, Budget moved downtown Chicago headquarters to Lisle, Ill.
In April 1997, Budget was bought by Team Rental Group, Budget’s largest franchisee in the United States and changed its name to Budget Group, Inc. Budget Group began trading on the NYSE that year.
In 1997, Budget unveiled “Unlimited Budget” a travel agent loyalty program through which members receive a free Unlimited Budget debit MasterCard card and earn points (dollars) for completed bookings.
In 1998, Budget introduced “Fastbreak,” Budget’s express service with paperless transaction.
In 2002, Budget Group was delisted from the NYSE and sold Budget Rent A Car assets in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand to Cendant Corporation. Other worldwide assets were sold to Avis Europe, Plc. Later, Cendant moved Budget headquarters from Lisle, Ill. to Parsippany, N.J.
In 2006, Cendant Corporation separated into four independent companies: Realogy, Wyndham Worldwide, Travelport and Avis Budget Group, Inc. As a result, Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. is now a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group.
In 2011, Avis Budget Group, Inc. acquired Avis Europe plc. The transaction re-unites Avis Budget Group with its licensee for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.