Garmin agreed to buy Germany-based navigation firm Navigon earlier this week mostly to expand its business with carmakers in Europe, a senior company official told Reuters in an interview.

Roger Jollis, chief of automotive business development at Garmin, said the firm -- which sees the car industry as a key growth driver for years ahead -- lacked presence in the European market and had no time to build it organically.

We wanted to make it quickly, he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an industry conference in Berlin.

Earlier this week Garmin said it bought Germany-based Navigon for an undisclosed sum. Jollis said Navigon's annual sales are around 130 million euros ($187 million), but did not unveil any other financial details.

A German daily reported in early June on Garmin's negotiations to buy Navigon for around 50 million euros, citing people familiar with the talks.

Garmin and other navigation device vendors have been struggling to fend off competition from Google Inc and Nokia, which offer free navigation on mobile devices.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Will Waterman)