updated 9/2/2006 10:40:55 PM ET 2006-09-03T02:40:55

Ford Motor Co., the nation’s No. 2 automaker, must change the way it does business in order to make a turnaround, the company’s head said in an e-mail to employees.

“The business model that sustained us for decades is no longer sufficient to sustain profitability,” wrote chairman and chief executive Bill Ford.

Ford said he has organized his approach to solving the company’s problems by focusing on three areas: accelerating its North American turnaround effort, leveraging its global assets and leadership.

“It is important to note that all of the issues that some onlookers view as ’problems’ for our company are issues that I view as opportunities,” he wrote.

“These should not be days of ’fear’ for the people of the Ford Motor Company as one headline put it recently,” he wrote, adding that there was a “sense of uncertainty over specific tactics until some key decisions are made.”

He said the company was updating its business model and altering its structure to make Ford “a stronger, more competitive company.”

A copy of the memo Ford sent Friday was obtained by The Detroit News, which published details of it Saturday. A spokesman for the Dearborn-based company on Saturday provided a copy to The Associated Press.

In July, Ford pledged to speed up and possibly deepen its North American turnaround plan. Ford’s “Way Forward” plan, launched in January, calls for shedding 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and closing 14 plants by 2012 to help return its North American automotive operations to profitability.

The company may offer buyouts and early retirement packages to more of its production workers to reduce its hourly work force. Details on further cuts are expected after a Sept. 14 board meeting.

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