The second largest car hire company in the United States, Avis Budget, has defended its actions in bidding for the Dollar Thrifty franchise.

Avis, who has been accused of contravening antitrust laws with their counter-offer to the original Hertz bid for Dollar Thrifty, said that it has filed for antitrust approval with US regulators on the potential acquisition.

The smaller Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc is currently being wooed by both Avis and the third largest US car hire firm Hertz to complement their existing brands, a move which will see either one establish itself as an equal, if not a bigger, operation than the market-leading Enterprise Rent A Car group. Both would gain a significant advantage over the other, should either be successful.

Avis has reiterated that its timetable for antitrust analysis and clearance for the potential Avis Budget-Dollar Thrifty agreement is comparable to that of the Hertz-Dollar Thrifty deal. However, neither Hertz nor Avis will have an easy passage in their quest to acquire what is currently the fourth largest US car rental company, with plenty of legal, industry and media scrutiny expected to hamper proceedings.