(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG’s Audi and China’s SAIC Motor Corp. will work together on a new vehicle platform as well as three new pure electric models as the German automaker steps up its electrification push in the world’s most competitive automotive market.

Audi and SAIC plan to jointly develop new models built on a China-specific platform — dubbed the Advanced Digitized Platform — for premium electric smart cars, according to a statement Monday. Cooperation will start with three battery-electric models for the B and C segments, according to the statement, which in China usually refers to medium- and mid-to-large-sized cars, similar to the Audi A4L and Audi A6L.

The partnership will further expand Audi’s battery-electric vehicle portfolio in China, enabling it to “significantly reduce” time to market by more than 30%, Audi said. The first model is expected to be available in 2025 and a joint project team has been set up led by Fermin Soneira, the former head of Audi’s product line for electric models for the A to C segments.

Audi has faced delays in developing a new EV platform, hindering its ability to compete with European and Chinese EV makers. Its portfolio is also growing stale as rivals Mercedes-Benz Group AG and BMW AG prepare to bring out their next generation of EVs from the middle of this decade. The deal between Audi and SAIC was first announced in July, without many details.

Audi’s parent VW meanwhile is trying to convince consumers and stakeholders that it can catch up to local rivals like BYD Co. and Xiaomi Corp. It’s betting on more localization in research and development, product design, supply chain management and the deployment of intelligent features via some key partnerships with players including Xpeng Inc. and Horizon Robotics Inc.

Despite continued growth, sales of new-energy vehicles, including pure battery cars and plug-in hybrids, in China are moderating. Retail sales rose 28.3% in April from a year ago but that was down 5.7% from March, data from the Passenger Car Association showed.

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