"I was lucky enough to walk away with no broken bones while the person who hit me left in an ambulance," the message board comment stated. "I can tell you with absolute certainty, my model S protected me where other cars would have failed. This recent story of the car being unsafe due to a battery fire is ridiculous. My car did not so much as smoke, and not a drop of liquid was released. This is the safest car on the road hands down, and for me, I can say honestly say it saved my life. Thank you Elon."
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said it's not surprising to see a high level of passion from Tesla owners. Many Leaf, Volt and Prius owners feel the same way, as do owners of 911s, Corvettes and Ferraris, he said.
"But Elon Musk combines technical talent with charisma, which has arguably contributed as much to Tesla's notoriety as the technology behind powering his cars," Brauer said. "Steve Jobs added a relatable human element to Apple's image, which made both the company and the individual more appealing to Apple fans. Whether by design or not, Elon is having the same effect on Tesla."
Ben Kallo, senior analyst for Robert W. Baird covering energy technology and resource management, said a recent Tesla car owners' event in the San Francisco Bay Area two months ago on a Sunday morning exemplified the company's cultish following.
With pastries and coffee, about 200 people gathered, half of whom were owners and their families while the other half were simply onlookers who wanted to look at the cars.
"It's pretty amazing you have that type of turnout on a Sunday morning at 10 o' clock," he said. "I thought that was a good indicator. Talking to Tesla owners, you get a sense that at least one of three claim to have led to a friend or family buying a car. Being in San Francisco, I talk to owners whenever I can. They are probably the best sales people out there for the car."
Still, Kallo says it's too early to tell whether the fire incidents are going to affect Tesla's sales. He forecasts a strong fourth quarter for the company, with shipments to Europe already delivered.
"I think it will take a little while longer. I think it will be a while until things are addressed," he said.
In Kallo's sector of energy technology, the level of fandom that Tesla customers show is certainly an "outlier." It helps that Tesla is a consumer-facing company, as is Solar City, Musk's other company.
Both companies are focused on customer service and are trying to build a brand, Kallo said.
Tesla's customer demographics tend to be highly educated, high-income earners.
"It's the cool thing to have in many circles," he said.