In the dispute, one of many involving the world's two biggest economies, the US described China's actions as having "profound procedural and substantive deficiencies," a source close to the organisation said.
The duties were also in breach of international trade rules, the US delegation said.
China responded by saying that it regretted the US request for the WTO dispute-settlement panel since Beijing had followed the organisation's guidelines and had hoped to solve the matter bilaterally.
The vehicles at issue were "dumped on the Chinese market and were subsidised by the US, causing injury to the domestic industry of China," a Chinese statement said.
In December 2011, China announced it would impose anti-dumping duties on US-imported vehicles with engines of 2.5 litres or larger.
The latest dispute dates back to July when the US asked for WTO intervention after calling China's actions "unjust." According to Washington, the Chinese duties affected more than 80 per cent of US auto exports to China. In another ongoing dispute, the US has also accused China of providing at least USD 1 billion in illegal subsidies to Chinese auto and auto parts exporters over 2009-2011, helping them beat US manufacturers in the USD 350 billion US market.
Washington now has 10 cases against China at the WTO, most of them lodged in the past two years, part of an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to use trade rules to beat down Beijing's huge bilateral trade surplus with the US.