Tickers in this Article: F, MSFT, AAPL, XOM
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is not relying solely on the U.S. consumer. Ford's 43% increase in sales in the U.S. was headline news, but non-U.S. sales are also a trending topic to follow. Investors who may be counting new F-150s or Ford Escapes on the road in response to the boost in sales report must also remember the influence of car buyers from abroad.

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Worldwide Sales
Ford's largest market outside the U.S. is Europe with the highest sales volume originating in Britain and Germany. Ford sales in Germany increased 18.2% in 2009 over the prior year despite stiff competition in the region from General Motors, Volkswagen and luxury vehicle providers including Audi and BMW. Like the rest of the world, Ford is also focused on China and India as important markets for future growth. Ford hauled in 1.9% market share for the 14.1 million units sold in China last year. Ford also managed to snag 1.3% of the 2.3 million units sold in India. Ford's shares in these emerging markets are small, but the volumes of vehicles being sold in the Asia Pacific Africa region has grown from 17.3 million units in 2005 to 24.5 million units in 2009. Ford's lineup of small cars and lightweight trucks will likely lead it to capture greater market share in the future. (For related reading, check out Going International.)

Growth Overseas
Taking advantage of the Asia Pacific Africa region's preference for small vehicles, Ford is investing in its overseas plant operations. Plant expansions in Chennai, India and a new plant announced last year in Chongqing, China are examples of Ford's focus on growing markets.

Non-U.S. Revenues Of The S&P 500's Top 3
Taking a look at the three largest components of the S&P 500 can give investors more perspective on the importance of non-U.S. customers. Nearly 84% of Exxon Mobil's (NYSE: XOM) $45.2 billion in earnings two years ago came from outside the U.S. Exxon believes that energy demand for power generation will be driven by growth in the Asia Pacific region through 2030. Last year, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the second-largest component of the S&P 500, generated just over 43% of its $58 billion in revenues outside the U.S. Microsoft's sales were led by products including its Windows Vista operations system and its Microsoft Office applications suite. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the third-largest component of the S&P 500, led by sales of iPhones, its portable notebooks and iPods, reported nearly 48% of its $42.9 billion in sales last year from overseas.

Made In The U.S.A.
Ford is a U.S. company, but investors should note how the automaker and other leading U.S.-based companies are counting on customers from abroad for growth. Exposure to international markets can add additional risk to a portfolio, but in the cases detailed above, they also offer the best opportunity for revenue growth of U.S.-based companies. (For more, check out 3 Secrets Of Successful Companies.)

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