Toyota Motor Corp sold 7.615 million cars in the first nine months of 2014, helping it retain a lead over Volkswagen and General Motors, or GM. The global auto industry has had a tough year with car makers coping with a spike in quality issues even as demand has grown in the Chinese and American markets.

The Japanese carmaker, which announced sales data Monday, has targeted to sell 10.2 million vehicles this year, after selling 9.98 million vehicles last year. If the company achieves its target, it would create an auto industry sales record, according to The Associated Press, or AP. Volkswagen, which hopes to sell 10 million units by the end of the year, had sold 7.4 million vehicles by September while GM reported selling 7.372 million vehicles worldwide.

“It’s a fantastic race, with their strengths coming in different parts of the world,” James Chao, a Shanghai-based director at IHS Automotive, said, according to Bloomberg, adding: “You see the U.S. coming back quite strongly for Toyota, and then you see the great engine of growth for Volkswagen being China, which is continuing to perform.”

Toyota’s Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models have all been performing well in different markets, including in Japan despite a rise in sales tax in the country that has hit overall spending, especially for vehicles, AP reported

GM was the largest seller of automobiles for over seven decades before Toyota took over the title in 2008. In 2011, GM retook the title after Toyota’s production was affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. But, Toyota nosed ahead in 2012 and continued its lead through 2013.

Toyota’s deliveries in the U.S. increased 5.7 percent until September, led by a 26 percent rise in the sales of its RAV4 sports utility vehicle, Bloomberg reported.

Auto companies worldwide are also struggling to get customers to feel safe about their products after millions of vehicles have been recalled over the year by companies due to faulty equipment. Earlier this month, Toyota recalled 1.67 million vehicles globally to address a faulty brake cylinder. The company is also facing an investigation by American authorities over air bags made for the company's vehicles by Takata Corp.