Cramer: Tesla fires 'cool ardor' among followers
Investors should look toward upcoming vehicle orders to tell whether Tesla's third car fire in six weeks could put a dent in the electric carmaker's status as a cult stock, CNBC's Jim Cramer said on Tuesday.
"The cult that stays in there dissipates," he said on "Squawk on the Street." "The cult was, 'I want one.' Now I think there are people who say, 'I will want one after they clear this up.' This kind of cools the ardor for Tesla."
His warning came as the National Highway Traffic Administration announced Tuesday it is investigating the fires, saying two of them broke out in the batteries when the car's undercarriage hit road debris and caused a thermal reaction. No one was injured in the incidents.
(Read more: Yet another Model S fire puts heat on Tesla)
"Everything has to be perfect when you do this," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "You can't have car fires. Do they have to harden the battery? Is the battery too low to the ground."
Cramer said he would look to future order numbers of Tesla vehicles before determining whether the rash of fires could further damage the brand's dedicated following.
Since reaching a 52-week high of $194.50 a share, Tesla's stock has taken a steep dive since the first fire made headlines in early October. Shares were trading at $126.16.
"How about if you hear cancellations of orders?" Cramer said. "If you don't ... this stock goes back, but if there is the just the sense, you know what, let's take a look to see whether this is pervasive."
Tesla founder Elon Musk discounted both a recall and the perception that the rash of fires meant that its flagship model, the Model S, is less safe than gasoline-powered vehicles.
"There's definitely not going to be a recall," Musk said during The New York Times Dealbook Conference last week. "There's no reason for a recall, I believe. ... The perception is that if you read the headlines it sounds like Teslas have a greater propensity to catch fire than other cares, and in reality nothing can be further from the truth."
Cramer echoed Musk's overall message.
"I would rather have an electric battery than a gasoline engine," he said. "I've often found that gasoline does ignite."