The chance that 2009 and 2010 model year Cubes could leak fuel if struck from the rear at 50 miles per hour led to the recall, documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show.
Last week, Nissan suspended sales and shipments of Cubes from Japan to the United States and Canada. Markets outside North America are not affected, said Nissan spokesman Colin Price.
Nissan said no injuries or crashes have been reported in relation to the issue with Cube, a quirky box-shaped compact sedan.
Sales and production will resume once a manufacturing fix is in place. Price said Nissan was working with its suppliers on the manufacturing fix.
The Cube failed a NHTSA test in which it is struck from the rear at 50 mph (80 kph). Fuel leaked when the Cube was put on its side after the impact, the tests showed.
Cube owners will be notified by late August to bring their vehicles to Nissan dealers for a fix. The fix involves installing a protective device for the fuel filler recirculation tube in the fuel neck of the vehicle.