NEW YORK -- Following is a roundup of developments in the car rental industry:

Avis. Avis said it has extended the deadline on its Club Red Travel Agent Booking program to June 30. In addition, the time in which rewards can be redeemed under the incentive program has been extended to Aug. 25.

The program offers agents such incentives as TWA miles, electronic products from Sony and Hitachi, Ramada Hotel certificates, CDs from MCA Records and movies from Universal Studios Home Video.

Agents must enter their Club Red membership code with each weekend, weekly, monthly and mini-lease booking.

Agents earn double points for rentals that include a Saturday-night stayover.

To join the program, agents should call (800) 555-9733 or access the Avis key word "Red" in the CRSs.

Thrifty. The names of travel agents who sign up clients to join Thrifty Car Rental's Blue Chip Express Rental program are being entered into a drawing to win a seven-day Caribbean cruise and other prizes. Blue Chip is a program available at 80 of Thrifty's highest-volume locations in North America.

Agents can register clients by filling out applications on Thrifty's Internet site -- www.thrifty.com -- or at its CRS sites. The sweepstakes, available through Nov. 15, will also reward two second-place finishers with a three-day Caribbean cruise, including air fare. In addition, three agents will be awarded a lunch from the car rental firm each month.

Thrifty also said it is paying 15% commissions on bookings made for St. Martin and St. Barts through July 31. The commissions are available on all standard rates and will be automatically awarded to agents.

The company said it has opened or is planning to open locations in Italy, Mexico, Sweden, the U.K. and Zimbabwe as follows:

  • In Italy, at an in-terminal facility at the Florence Airport and a downtown location near the Florence railway station.
  • In Mexico, at airport locations in Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuataneo and Guanajuato and a suburban location in the Zona Rosa district of Merida. Thrifty currently has 30 locations in Mexico.
  • In the U.K., downtown locations in Derby, Harrow, Lincoln, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Stevenage and London's West End. In addition, suburban locations in Loewstoft, Mansfield, Merton, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Swindon, Wakefield and Wimbledon. These and extant sites give Thrifty 68 locations in the U.K.
  • In Sweden, a suburban facility in Linkoping, giving it seven sites in the country. Additional locations are planned for downtown Stockholm, Goteborg, Malmo and Ornskoldsvik.
  • In Zimbabwe, downtown locations in Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, with plans to go in airport terminals in both cities. The company has an existing facility at the Harare Airport.
  • Budget. Budget Rent a Car said it acquired its franchise operator in Quebec, Compact Rent a Car. The company operates 22 locations, and its subfranchisors operate another 23 locations throughout Quebec.

    The company also said it named Robert Barton vice president of tour and travel. He will be responsible for developing international business. Barton previously worked with Cruise America, a recreational vehicle rental and sales company purchased several months ago by Budget's parent company.

    Dav El. Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network said it plans to introduce Mercedes-Benz 420 SELs and Lincoln Navigator four-by-fours to its fleet, starting in June in New York. The vehicles will be available in other Dav El markets next year. Rates will be $85 an hour, with a two-hour minimum and a 20% tip.

    Hertz. Hertz is paying agents 15% commission on bookings made under its Hertz Affordable Europe promotion. The promotion gives U.S. and Canadian travelers the opportunity to get "Free Days" on rentals booked through June 30 for pickup through Dec. 15.

    When prepaying a weekly rental of five or more days, Affordable Europe customers can receive their first rental day free at participating Hertz-owned locations in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.

    Customers picking up their rental in the U.K. by June 30 can receive their first two rental days free.

    Agents must request "Free Day" at the time of reservation.

    Payless. Payless Car Rental said it plans to open locations in Cairo, Egypt; Brandon, Fla.; Burlington, Wis., and Traverse City, Mich.

    Dollar. Dollar Rent A Car is offering discounted weekly rates on Dodge Neons, Stratuses and Caravans at more than 45 cities through June 30. Rates start at $119 in Tampa and Miami, Fla.

    Also, Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine, Spirit, is offering coupons worth 10% off Dollar rentals through Feb. 28. The discounts are good at cities served by both Dollar and Southwest.

    Dollar also said it has opened an in-terminal location at the airport in Columbus, Ohio.

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