Re: 85'000 vehicles in toto?
Maybe, but the more improtant (political) point is that its 85,000 cars that aren't from good ole USofA manufacturers
About half of US auto sales are from imports and VW even have a factory in Tennessee, so nationalism doesn't seem a likely cause. The simplest explanation is that VW tried to sell an unsuitable product - diesel-engined small vehicles - and cheated so egregiously they had to be prosecuted.
On the other hand, German civil servants have done there damnedest to fudge EU standards so that their national champions can keep selling smoke-boxes, "calling for the tests to be conducted on sloping downhill tracks, and for allowing manufacturers to declare a final CO2 value 4% lower than the one measured"
Regarding the air-quality vs. CO2 trade-off; thinking locally it's understandable to prioritise the air-quality, although ideally both could be helped by promoting electric vehicles and built-environments suited to walking & cycling.