The firm will team up with an as-yet unnamed partner in the USA for the expansion and already there has been significant progress on a launch.
It will retain the name – which research has shown is an asset with American customers – and choose vehicles which are specific to the American market. Salvatore Catania, chief executive officer of Europcar International, said: ‘We are giving serious consideration to entering the American market at a high level as soon as is possible.
‘We will be able to give more details of this when the time comes.’
He said the firm was also looking at expansion in China as part of a plan to deliver profit of €100 million this year, four times the level achieved in 2001.
However, Catania stopped short of rolling out an innovative flexible leasing programme first revealed in Italy four years ago.
The programme, called Easyway, allowed customers to lease a vehicle for a set fee, but as part of the package, they could swap their car for a different type of model if their needs changed in the short term.
So if a driver had a Ford Focus, they could swap into a 4x4 for the weekend if they were going skiing, for example.
Although a similar service, called AutoLiberte, has been launched in Paris, Catania said: ‘It is a very local service and is not offered at country level. We have not looked further at offering it on a European level as management focus has turned to other priorities.’