The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is 0.5% higher as of 2 p.m. EST after retail spending rose 0.2% in December, beating the projected 0.1% increase. Whereas previous results were pulled higher by automotive sales, December's aggregate number would have been up 0.7% without the 1.8% drop in auto sales. With that in mind as earnings season begins to ramp up, here are some industrial companies making headlines today.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) appeared suddenly in an industry long dominated by Detroit's big three automakers, and it has successfully grown its niche in electric vehicles. Tesla's stock is surging 11% after the company announced it delivered 6,900 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2013 -- that's 20% more vehicles than it had forecast.

Tesla also expects to grow "recklessly" in 2014 and doesn't think recent recalls of Tesla Model S chargers will hinder the company's performance in any way. Over the weekend, Tesla announced it would recall 29,000 chargers while denying that the charger itself was the cause of a fire that started in Irvine, Calif.

Meanwhile, in the aviation industry, Boeing (NYSE:BA) and rival Airbus continue to duke it out to be the industry leader in passenger aircraft. Last year, Airbus totaled net orders of 1,503 planes compared to 1,355 for Boeing. Those orders were valued at $225 billion for Airbus compared to $198 billion for Boeing.

While Airbus topped Boeing in orders, the latter delivered more airplanes to customers. Boeing delivered 648 airplanes, boosted by its popular 737 single-aisle airplanes, compared to Airbus' 626 deliveries. Both Airbus and Boeing still boast incredible revenue transparency with their extremely large backlogs of orders, which stand at 5,559 and 5,080 aircraft, respectively. As global fleets continue to grow and mature markets replace older passenger airplanes, both stand to capture their fair share of a market they collectively dominate.

As earnings season begins to heat up, investors watching the Dow are looking toward General Electric (NYSE:GE). GE is still in a transitional period of shifting its business focus from financial services toward its industrial portfolio. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect General Electric to report a strong rise in earnings of more than 20% to $0.53 cents a share. As the company continues through its transitional period, expect analysts to buy into the change in its business strategy; in fact, as of last quarter, General Electric's backlog rose 13% to a record high after its industrial products surged in demand during the U.S. energy boom and the commercial-aircraft rebound.