It looks like Hertz has finally heard of Zipcar. The popular car rental agency has just launched a new service called Connect, and it's a lot like the service offered by eight-year-old Zipcar. Connect customers will pay an annual fee that allows them to rent vehicles by the hour -- an arrangement very similar to the one offered by Zipcar. Members go online to make reservations and then use swipe cards to open cars that are parked at lots all over the city. Rather predictably, chic city cars like the Toyota Prius and MINI Cooper are part of the program.

The big difference between the two programs is that where Zipcar has about 5,500 cars in 13 cities, Hertz has 40,000 in New York alone. Right now, Connect by Hertz is available in New York, Paris and London, as well as in Park Ridge, New Jersey, home of the Hertz Corporation. The plan is to add 20 more domestic cities and an equal number of foreign ones next year.

[Source: New York Times]