This has not been a good time for Ford (F -1.16%) stock; its price is down nearly 44% year to date as bad feelings have taken hold among analysts. And no wonder.

Ford expects its third-quarter inflation-related supplier costs to run $1 billion higher than expected as a number of high-margin trucks and SUVs, with missing components due to supply shortages. Numbering an anticipated 45,000 units, the company expects to finish in the fourth quarter. Menawhile, Ford president Jim Farley has reorganized his executive lineup once again. 

But the bad short-term news opens an opportunity for a dividend-paying stock as its ongoing product plans should improve its prospects in the marketplace longer term as it focuses on iconic nameplates to clarify its market image.

Ford focuses on iconic names

Ford is shoring up its commercial business with the imminent release of updated F-250 through F-650 Super-Duty trucks, most of which are purchased by businesses, of which Ford has a 60% market share. And its new all-electric Ford Pro E-Transit commercial van, although mostly a European-market play, commands a 95% U.S. market share. Yes, its market share is expected to shrink with the onslaught of a number of electric van rivals, but Ford's head start should pay dividends here.

Ford also builds America's best-selling light-duty truck, the F-150, a position it's held for 45 years. Sales are down 12% this year due to supplier shortages, but its all-electric F-150 Lightning has already sold 2,296 copies in the first half of 2022. While that's less than Rivian's  3,600 R1Ts sold in the same period, the F-150 Lightning began production in May, so it does not reflect a full half-year's production. 

Ford's midsize pickup, the Ranger, is expected to be redesigned for 2023, while the company's smallest pickup, the Maverick, is already sold out for 2023. There are also all-electric Explorer and Bronco Hybrid SUVs coming in 2024. And don't forget the redesigned Ford Mustangs, its most-recognized vehicle, and an iconic Halo vehicle.

Why it may be time to buy

Considering Ford's product plans, executives are taking a page from the Tesla (TSLA 2.92%) playbook.

While Teslas are solid EVs, they're not necessarily better than what's coming from other manufacturers. But Elon Musk has built an aura around Tesla that entices consumers to buy into it. Other automakers, such as Porsche, play this game too.

Ford management is slowly transforming Ford's lineup into one with iconic or beloved nameplates. Concentrating on fewer, well-known names gives the automaker a clearly defined character that brings added marketing muscle. It's why Ford's first EVs are the Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning, and not a Ford Escape, for example. By concentrating its EV production on its most revered models, the company instantly builds an easily identifiable image for consumers that builds an enticing aura, like Tesla. Ford has consumers waiting for its EVs, while the Volkswagen (VWAGY -4.39%) all-electric ID.4 has failed to garner as much enthusiasm. If the automaker had launched the ID.Buzz or an all-electric Beetle, it might have fared far better. But it has learned, reviving the Scout brand in the U.S. for EVs.

Ford stock has taken a beating due to concerns about rising interest rates, skyrocketing inflation, continued chip shortages, and the impact on sales. The company's fundamental stronghold in trucks hasn't changed as it introduces a new line of Super Duty trucks, a mainstay of its commercial vehicle sales. It is also simultaneously increasing its selection of EVs, mostly around iconic nameplates, which brings with it a clear brand image, similar to Tesla.

While the stock's decline in value may not be over, it's worth watching. The company's longer-term strategy of concentrating on well-known and revered names helps clarify its image in the minds of cosumers, similar to EV start-ups such as Rivian or Tesla. This should lend it a cache to drive sales of its higher-margin electric trucks and SUVs, even as the company continues to maintain its dominance in internal combsution engine trucks. This could represent a buying opportunity for those with a longer investment strategy.

Although competitors aren't sitting still, Ford remains a compelling long-term choice for its adherence to its core business, one it knows well.