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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Tesla delivered 499,550 vehicles throughout 2020, falling just short of CEO Elon Musk's goal of shipping 500,000, the company announced on Saturday.

The state of play: Despite the near miss, the Q4 numbers set a new record for the company, with 180,570 cars shipped for the last three months of 2020 compared to the previous record of 139,300 Q3 deliveries.

  • The company surpassed Wall Street's expectations, as they anticipated it would deliver 174,000 between October and December, CNBC reports.
  • Tesla's annual sales increased by 36% and shares rose by 700%, per AP.

Yes, but: Musk had pushed the company to meet his goal. The CEO sent an email to employees in December telling to increase production as much as possible to meet demand, AP notes.

  • This week, he tweeted that all cars delivered through the last three days of the year would have three months of the full self-driving option for free. The option normally costs $10,000, according to AP.

The big picture: Musk has said he wants to increase the company's sales to 20 million per year over the next decade, per CNBC.

  • Tesla is building new factories in Texas and Germany in an effort to boost production and sales.

What to watch: Tesla said final results could vary by 0.5% or more.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."