CNBC’s Jim Cramer extended high praise to Elon Musk on Monday, calling the Tesla CEO “the new face of an auto executive” and extolling the enjoyment of riding in one of the company’s electric vehicles.
“Your car becomes an exciting, an exciting place to be,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street,” just after Monday’s open on Wall Street. Tesla shares later soared above $500 each for the first time and closed up 9.8% at $524.86.
The stock is continuing its torrid start to the year — up more than 20% already in 2020 and up more than 100% since late September — behind a groundswell of optimism around the company’s entrance into the Chinese market.
Reflecting that outlook, Oppenheimer on Monday raised its price target by nearly 60% to $612 per share. For now, that makes Oppenheimer the biggest bull among Wall Street’s traditional firms.
“We believe the company’s risk tolerance, ability to implement learnings from past errors, and larger ambition than peers are beginning to pose an existential threat to transportation companies that are unable or unwilling to innovate at a faster pace,” Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch wrote in a note to clients
Responding to that Oppenheimer hike, Cramer said he believes that “someone is going to come up with a $700 price target soon.” He added: “The bears really don’t know what to do. It’s an earnings story for heaven’s sake.”
Cramer had been a relative Tesla skeptic, dishing criticism Musk’s way on occasion, but his outlook turned more positive toward the company late last year, due largely to the wishes of his wife, Lisa, who wanted a Model X sport utility vehicle.
“I give up. The car is too damn great,” Cramer said then.
The “Mad Money” host affirmed his bullish stance last week, saying “I’m a believer” in Tesla after it built its Gigafactory 3 factory in Shanghai in just 10 months and began delivering cars to Chinese consumers.
Cramer compared the in-car experience created by Tesla and Musk to a phrase used by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who likened the coffee shop to a “third place” between work and home.
“I love sitting in a Tesla,” Cramer said Monday. “Tesla is the third place to be.”
Over the weekend, Musk teased a new feature for Tesla vehicles that seems to allow Teslas to communicate with pedestrians — in other words, it will let the car talk “if you want,” Musk tweeted.
Musk also suggested the car will be able to emit an external fart noise. The software in some newer Teslas allows the vehicle to, well, make a fart sound inside the car.
“My daughter loves the flatulence seat. She kept sitting on it and pressing the button,” Cramer said Monday, citing it as evidence as the atmosphere of enjoyment created by Tesla.
“People love to be in it and they’ve got autonomous driving. Oh my, it’s so exciting,” Cramer said.