The visiting expert tried to convince them to automate some of the manufacturing to increase production volume, and to start using cheaper materials to reduce costs.
That expert really didn't get the business model. If they had taken his 'advice' they would have been sunk.
Here's the problem. Automated manufacturing is the realm of the major automobile companies. No small manufacturer is going to be able to compete with the likes of Ford, Toyota, VW, and such in the realm of 'cheap' and 'automated'.
I just so happened to catch a piece on NPR last night about how there's a surge in crafted goods. Up something like 500% over the last decade. As so much of what we purchase and use becomes automated, people become more interested in crafted goods. As the program mentioned, people want stuff with a story behind it.
So you're a tiny car company. You HAVE to distinguish yourself from the 'big boys'. What are they known for? Cheap, plastic, mass market, soulless, etc... So what do you do? Make your car out of wood. That's unique, no mass market car company does that. Not even Rolls-Royce does that anymore. Not just wood though. Hand worked high quality wood.* The whole car made mostly by hand. Hell, sell the car with a photo-album of the crew putting their new car together. You have a waiting list? So much the better! I can smell the snobbery from here. Wood is even renewable, so points there.
Probably what happened is they had enough customers express an interest. Remember, Leno has a couple of century-old electric cars. Yes, electric cars can be 'classic'. Plus, given the way the drive-train works for an electric, it's relatively easy to customize the body you put on top.
*the right types of wood can approach and even exceed the strength of steel for a given amount of mass. It's just a lot bulkier.