Cobra adds Versatile and Efficient Next Gen Cat® 310 Excavator to Fleet

Cobra’s Next Gen Cat® 310 Excavator

When Gorden and Loretta Sonnenberg started Cobra in 1975, it was just the two of them running the commercial plumbing and gas fitting company in small-town Wetaskiwin, Alberta. But today their four boys, son-in-law, and six grandsons are all involved and the business has expanded into excavation, concrete, and asphalt. According to Martin Sonnenberg “The brothers joined forces in the late 90s and it became a full-fledged family business when the nephews got on board about 10 years ago.”

Much like their family-owned and operated business, the Sonnenbergs like to keep their equipment in the family too. When Finning sales rep Shawn Lipka first called on them four years ago, he found out just how loyal they were. “Martin told me that unless I had a Komatsu or a crusher for sale, they weren’t interested. Luckily we had a crusher and I sold it to them.


As luck would have it, they were in the market for a new excavator last summer so Shawn dropped off a new Next Gen Cat® 310 excavator for them to try. “We’ve been in the market for that size machine for almost five years,” said Martin. “Once we started using it, we realized it’s the perfect size machine for sewer and water residential changeouts and smaller municipality work. It was ideal for what we needed the machine to do, so handy and easy to move where we needed it.” That sealed the deal and Cobra suddenly had a new Next Generation excavator in their fleet. It was their first Cat and the first Next Gen excavator sold in Alberta.

The Cobra team with Finning Canada President, Kevin Parkes and Finning Sales Rep, Shawn Lipka

“Cat has a long history and a good reputation, but this new machine was foreign to us,” said Martin. “Finning walked us through the features, how it’s built, and how it could help us and the appeal became clear really quick.” Cobra digs in a lot of tight areas and needs the power to pull sewer lines and do replacement work with the least amount of disturbance. “This machine allows us to do the work of three machines, it has a hoe pack, blade, and the lifting capacity and versatility for its size are phenomenal. And the quick attachment allows us to change the bucket without getting out of the cab which is a big time saver.”

Cobra put 160 hours on their new excavator within the first few weeks and are still enjoying the machine. “We are really happy with our purchase and the machine is extremely efficient. It allows us to do more jobs on a daily basis.  We don’t have to haul in or switch to other machines. It’s the only machine required for the job so we can spread out the crew and the rest of the equipment for other jobs.”


The operators also like the Next Gen Cat 310 excavator. “The comfort of the cab is great and it responds really well, the guys like the quickness, it’s a huge bonus for operators, it makes their job almost effortless. But one of the biggest things -- Cat’s made the cab and controls the same in every machine, big or small, so operators don’t need to spend time getting used to a new machine.”

So what’s next for Cobra? “We have a couple bigger track hoes that are coming up on high hours, so we will need to replace those at some point and a bigger loader maybe,” says Martin. “And we’ll want to see what Cat has to offer.”