TOKYO (Reuters) -Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday global vehicle production grew at a record pace for the month of August, as the sector recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and production capacity increased, mainly overseas.

Vehicle production soared 44.3% in August year-on-year, the first increase since March. The world’s largest automaker by sales produced 766,683 vehicles worldwide last month, above its target of around 700,000 and above the year-ago output of 531,448.

The Japanese automaker has been under scrutiny amid concerns Toyota may have to lower its annual production target of 9.7 million vehicles, even as China dials back pandemic restrictions and chip shortages are showing some signs of easing.

Output increased mainly overseas in August, with domestic production up 5.6% year-on-year and overseas production jumping by 65.1% from a year ago, also a record rise for the month of August.

Production in the first five months of the current fiscal year that started in April is now 6.7% short of the company’s initial plans, as opposed to 10.3% last month, according to Reuters calculation based on company data. The company gives out monthly production targets.

Overseas sales also hit a record for the month of August, driven by a rebound from a decline in sales last year due to coronavirus outbreaks in China and the rest of Asia. Overseas sales rose by 8.9% in August year-on-year to 694,272 vehicles, while in Japan, they fell by 25.8% to 82,775 vehicles because parts supply shortage and COVID-19 outbreaks disrupted production.

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)