They are temper mental. I had that problem after I removed the cover on the console to replace a burned out bulb a few years back. If it isn't aligned "just right", it won't allow the catch to grab. After a period of frustration, I managed to finally get the console, as well as the storage area above it (under the radio) aligned properly. If the storage area is pushing down too hard on the cover, that will also cause a problem with it.
just joined, have been reading alot in here and love all the info about these cars
bought a used 2000 ssei and i love it but have run into a few of the same problems i now know lots of you have.
anyway went chasing the burnt out light in the console shift and checked the ash tray as well. this is what i found hope it helps someone else.
seems the catch tab had flipped over - i simply lifted it and carefully set it back - works like its supposed to.
heres some pics.
console top removal was also explained in here somewhere just cant find it to link to it right now.
gotta figure out how to post pics first - arrgghh
ahhh have to link to them - cant upload em - oh well PM if you want pics of the tab