Volkswagen Sought a Green Seal for Its Diesel Cars

Photo President Obama announcing new emissions targets for vehicles, with auto executives behind him, in July 2011. Credit Jason Reed/Reuters WASHINGTON In July 2011, President Obama took the stage here to announce sweeping new fuel economy and carbon emissions targets for vehicles in the United States. Joining him were top executives from nearly every automaker, representing 90 percent of vehicles sold domestically.

But one automaker in particular was missing from the stage: Volkswagen.

The German automaker, now at the center of a firestorm over its cheating on