Small fuel-sipping cars like the Yaris and Honda Fit are new to the States, but like the Smart Car, they have been running around the rest of the world for a while before coming to America, where people have tended toward larger cars. In fact, there is a long history of micro-cars that were popular elsewhere but bombed in the States. After World War II Messerschmitt was at loose ends, and built the KR200, which got up to 80 miles per gallon. You got in by popping up the canopy, just like in their planes.
The Isetta was built by BMW under licence from an Italian refridgerator company, and got 13 horsepower out of a 247cc engine- more than 100,000 were built. Collectors now pay up to $ 20,000 for them, more than a new Smart Car costs. ::New York Times. See also: ::Japanoid – Importing K-Cars in Canada