Sure, VW cheated on emissions, and that’s enough of a reason to fine them. But there is a much larger reason for levying the fine they did.
1st: Why the fuck are you guys defending Volkswagen? This is not the innocent little guy. This is a company with over $100 billion in revenues, who got caught fucking cheating about the worst of the shit that can come out of an engine.
2nd: Appeals, this fine will be decreased. Lawyers will help VW seem like they only cheated a little and all sorts of bullshit.
3rd and most importantly: If they did nothing why wouldnt everyone else cheat? And why wouldn’t they cheat other things too? Why wouldnt Toyota bring specially reinforced cars for crash tests? If the consequences are so low why would they stop?
The EPA had to make a stance, because if they didn’t this would not be a one time thing anymore.