Volvo XC60 (copy)

Anders Gustaffson, head of Volvo Cars' U.S. division, holds the World Cup of the Year trophy awarded in 2018 to the automaker's XC60 SUV. The U.S. Trade Representative rejected Volvo's request to exclude the XC60 from tariffs on Chinese-made vehicles. Provided/Volvo Cars

The U.S. Trade Representative has denied a request by Volvo Cars for an exemption to 25 percent tariffs imposed on Chinese-made vehicles that are imported to the United States.

The denial came in a May 29 letter, according to news reports. Volvo had been seeking an exemption for its XC60 SUV.

The ruling is a moot point for Volvo because the automaker has already moved XC60 production for the U.S. market to its plant in Torslanda, Sweden.

The tariffs are on hold while China and the U.S. continue talks over trade disagreements.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.


Volvo had piggybacked on a similar request by General Motors for its Buick Envision sport-utility vehicle. U.S. officials also denied an exemption in that case.

The mid-size XC60 is one of Volvo's top sellers in the United States, with 11,758 units sold through the first five months of this year — a 4.6% increase over 2018. The vehicle is second only to the larger XC90 in terms of U.S. sales.

Volvo builds its S60 sedan at a $1.1 billion manufacturing campus off Interstate 26 near Ridgeville. The automaker, based in Sweden and owned by China's Geely Holding Group, plans to add production of the XC90 at the Charleston-area plant by 2021, when employment at the site is expected to top 4,000 people.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_