The Volkswagen emission cheating is well-known at this stage. However, I heard some people say that many other car manufacturers have actually been performing similar cheating in emission tests.
Last year, Fiat Chrysler was also found cheating, but it seems that the Justice Department is willing to drop any criminal charges against them with huge penalties from civil settlement. Also, companies like Samsung have been accused of cheating energy efficiency tests. However, those events received little coverage compared with the VW one.
The theory goes that there is a certain political/trade protectionism element behind the massive VW fines and criminal proceedings initiated by the US, similar to how the European Union has been fining a lot of money for monopoly and demanding back taxes from US tech giants such as Google, which the US disputes. The European Union/Germany seems to be protecting VW as much as they can, similar to how the US is trying to protect the tech giants.
Is it true that cheating in emission tests is an industry-wide practice? And does it make sense to say that VW is being unfairly singled out? Or can the fact that VW seems to receive much more severe punishments than Fiat Chrysler/Samsung etc. be explained by the scale of VW cheating being much more massive? Or is it just that many investigations are still ongoing regarding other car companies?
EDIT: Apparently many other companies are also accused by the regulators of cheating but are denying the charges and have by now not faced many consequences. So the focus of my question is really more on whether the punishment on VW was fair or was there some ulterior elements behind it.