Perhaps some of these cars will come to North America. They're likely to be very fuel efficient.
True. But the US people would rather have a car that is heavier than it should be, and take more gas than it should.
These type of cars have been produced worldwide for a long time (including the old VW beetle, and the Renault 4, both of which were produced for over 20 years), but the US people don't seem to want them yet, and the US gov't doesn't want them here since they won't give them enough Gas dollars.
On the never-ending quest for better gas mileage...
The microcar market never hit that big in America. Not due to government conspiracy, but public demand.
I mean, for the $2500 you spend to get the Tata cheap car (Which I hear will have a bear of a time passing US safety regulations, and even if it does, it'll likely be just barely) instead of getting a small, cramped, weak little thing, you could get a nice, reliable mid-90's compact, like an escort, civic, cavalier, corolla... Something bigger, more comfortable, more powerful, and probably safer. And still good on gas.
America doesn't WANT a Kei car. There are a few of us who do (Among those are nearly all members of this forum, but we don't represent America.), but not enough to support a market.
America wants comfort, power, safety, and image from the cars.
I'm fairly sure the only reasons the Mini Cooper and Prius really sold so well, and likely why the Smart will sell so well is not because they have good FE and are economic to drive. It's because they're trendy.
The number one reason anyone in 2007 bought a prius? "Image" That's it. The same sort of expensive, feel good, pseudo-environmentalism as buying carbon offsets.
I highly doubt these cheap cars will have much of a market in the US.