To be with the Actros he wanted, Fabien Jonard even changed his employer

RoadStars meets

Values on wheels.

An airbrushed truck with great equipment – Fabien Jonard couldn't resist, so he changed his employer.

Fabien Jonard drives for BFT in Lyon. “I always wanted to a be a long-distance driver.” That's why I did an apprenticeship to become a professional driver. “On my 18th birthday, I picked up my driving licence and started driving straight away.”

His truck at the time was the first Actros 1863 with the top-of-the-line engine, built in the Wörth plant. For the 25th anniversary of BFT's founding, the boss decided to have the truck decorated by an airbrush artist. The image shows parchment scrolls on which the company's values are listed. “Well... I wasn't asked about the design,” says Fabien dryly. “But instead, I had my word to say about the equipment on-board.”

A picture-perfect truck.

Fabien's Actros has features which would make any long-distance trucker's heart pound faster. Polished stainless steel everywhere you look: from the trim of the steps right up to the roof-mounted headlamp bar and the chassis shielding. Profile strips in – you guessed it – stainless steel round off the lower section of the bodywork. The BigSpace cab is equipped with leather seats, climate control and a navigation system. The prospect of driving such a truck was a huge part of the decision behind Fabien starting at BFT in Lyon. “Trucks with that something special have always appealed to me. But it's also important to me that the company has a people-oriented outlook. Plus I already knew both of the bosses.”

“On parking areas, people I don't even know ask me about my truck and start taking photos. Not bad, really.”

– Fabien Jonard, driver of an Actros with both intrinsic and extrinsic values

The right decision.

That was four years ago and Fabien has never regretted his decision. “When you've got a truck like this, other drivers regularly flash their lights at you. On parking areas, people I don't even know ask me about my truck and start taking photos. Not bad, really,” says the 26-year-old with a laugh. And that's why he doesn't mind his 13-hour working days and driving for between 9 and 10 hours on a daily basis.

Most often, it's containers which need picking up in Marseille's Fos-sur-Mer docks and bringing up to Lyon. “We either drop them off in the container docks in Lyon or we bring them directly to the customer.” On days where he leaves at 5 a.m., he can manage a round trip by 7 p.m. “But if I have to go to Le Havre, then I need two days.”

Fabien also regularly delivers semitrailers. These are either new vehicles which hauliers have ordered from manufacturer Lamberet, or semitrailers which BFT rents out. Regardless of what Fabien is towing, he's living his dream.

Photos: Alex Kraus